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Unread 08-29-2004, 12:46 PM   #1
noahidelaws
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Question Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

When necessary, how does one refer to a member of the opposite gender (not one's relative or wife, obviously) when 1) addressing him/her in person 2) writing a business, or similar letter? It definitely seems inappropriate to use first names. It makes me cringe every time I hear it. But is it forbidden?

Frum people are usually more sensitive about this, and don't use first names, but not always, I've noticed. But this issue arises especially amongst non-frum people, who are used to being referred to by their first name rather than what they will regard as the stuffy, over-formal Mr. or Mrs. And what if they specifically ask to be referred to by their first names? Should one explain that that's considered inappropriate, or should one be concerned that that will turn them off?

In addressing someone in person, one can usually communicate without using a name. But in letters, it's unavoidable. So what then?

Does anyone have Halachic sources?
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Unread 08-29-2004, 05:27 PM   #2
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

http://www.chabadtalk.com/forum/show...9&page=1&pp=30

http://www.chabadtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=741
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Unread 08-29-2004, 11:44 PM   #3
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thanks, but those threads don't discuss this particular issue, only related ones
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Unread 08-30-2004, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

http://chabadtalk.com/forum/showthre...ght=call+adult
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Unread 08-30-2004, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Thanks! I hadn't seen that thread. Though it doesn't give concrete answers.
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Unread 08-31-2004, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

see the sefer booklet 9 to 5 sited on site here...in stores.. deals with these issues....machmir.
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Unread 09-01-2004, 01:57 AM   #7
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
Originally Posted by noahidelaws
When necessary, how does one refer to a member of the opposite gender (not one's relative or wife, obviously) when 1) addressing him/her in person 2) writing a business, or similar letter? It definitely seems inappropriate to use first names. It makes me cringe every time I hear it. But is it forbidden?

. But this issue arises especially amongst non-frum people, who are used to being referred to by their first name rather than what they will regard as the stuffy, over-formal Mr. or Mrs. And what if they specifically ask to be referred to by their first names? Should one explain that that's considered inappropriate, or should one be concerned that that will turn them off?
This comes up in relation to children addressing adults as well. Too many times adults tell my children to call them by their first name. "It doesn't bother me" they say. I let them know that for proper chinuch MY children refer to adults with a prefix. Morah Rochel, Miss Amy, Cousin Chaim, Rabbi Mendy, Dr. Cyrus, etc if they want first name usage.
Maybe you can explain that you were taught that it is a sign of respect to use a title when referring to others.
I know of more than one couple where the spouses do not use first names even with peers.
I was told recently by a woman who was my teacher in HS (I'm in my 30's now) that it was about time I stopped calling her Morah 'Smith'. I responded, Alright, Mrs. 'Smith'.
My point, it is respectful, and a sign that this 'familiarity' thing is not necessarily good for society.
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Unread 09-01-2004, 06:31 AM   #8
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Thanks for your comments. Hmmm. I always called my Uncle and Aunt by their titles, but my cousins? And how many more years older do they have to be to be called my a title? And BTW, this is somewhat of a deviation from the topic, because the same would apply to addressing a senior member of the same gender. In any case, I agree totally that such titles should be used to maintain a sense of respect.
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Unread 09-01-2004, 08:14 AM   #9
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

tadah
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Unread 09-01-2004, 08:15 AM   #10
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

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Unread 10-12-2004, 04:45 PM   #11
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I recently attended a Chabad House on campus, and noticed the Rabbi addressing all the females there by their first names. It would seem that, coming from the background that they do, addressing them by a title would detract from the effectiveness of his influence on them, and so in this case such a leniency is justified.
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Unread 10-12-2004, 06:35 PM   #12
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nechama
This comes up in relation to children addressing adults as well. Too many times adults tell my children to call them by their first name. "It doesn't bother me" they say. I let them know that for proper chinuch MY children refer to adults with a prefix. Morah Rochel, Miss Amy, Cousin Chaim, Rabbi Mendy, Dr. Cyrus, etc if they want first name usage.
Maybe you can explain that you were taught that it is a sign of respect to use a title when referring to others.
I know of more than one couple where the spouses do not use first names even with peers.
I was told recently by a woman who was my teacher in HS (I'm in my 30's now) that it was about time I stopped calling her Morah 'Smith'. I responded, Alright, Mrs. 'Smith'.
My point, it is respectful, and a sign that this 'familiarity' thing is not necessarily good for society.
, sounds like me, I still call my teacher from when I was in kindergarten "Morah Leah". Some things never change?
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Unread 10-12-2004, 06:38 PM   #13
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

This is a very interesting topic. For me, I deal with the opposite gender every day, so it's hard not to call them by their first name.
Gevurah, what is that booklet called that you posted earlier? The pic is so small, I can't read the title.
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Unread 10-12-2004, 07:40 PM   #14
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
I deal with the opposite gender every day
then read the 'guide to modest conduct for today's workplace' [that's the title of the book posted above.]

or you mean your family members?
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Unread 10-12-2004, 09:20 PM   #15
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

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Originally Posted by roza
then read the 'guide to modest conduct for today's workplace' [that's the title of the book posted above.]

or you mean your family members?
No, I mean outside of my house. Thanks though, the title is what I wanted to know (I could barely read the small print on the picture)
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Unread 10-12-2004, 09:50 PM   #16
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
Originally Posted by noahidelaws
I recently attended a Chabad House on campus, and noticed the Rabbi addressing all the females there by their first names. It would seem that, coming from the background that they do, addressing them by a title would detract from the effectiveness of his influence on them, and so in this case such a leniency is justified.
I don't understand. A shliach needs to have a rapport with his m'kuravim so that they feel comfortable, open etc. with the shliach.
M'maila as a bachur I wouldn't use first names, but as a shliach?
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Unread 10-12-2004, 10:03 PM   #17
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
Originally Posted by mordechai7215
I don't understand. A shliach needs to have a rapport with his m'kuravim so that they feel comfortable, open etc. with the shliach.
M'maila as a bachur I wouldn't use first names, but as a shliach?
I think noahidelaws was just stating that as a situation that would be 'permissible' so to say.
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Unread 10-12-2004, 10:29 PM   #18
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

yah but sounded so b'deved
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Unread 10-12-2004, 11:45 PM   #19
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I used that tone because it's a deviation from the norm.
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Unread 10-13-2004, 08:49 AM   #20
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
Originally Posted by noahidelaws
I recently attended a Chabad House on campus, and noticed the Rabbi addressing all the females there by their first names. It would seem that, coming from the background that they do, addressing them by a title would detract from the effectiveness of his influence on them, and so in this case such a leniency is justified.
It really depends more on the Shliach's style. It definitely means nothing to the kids whether they call you rabbi or not.
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Unread 10-13-2004, 09:06 AM   #21
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

No, I think he means the Shliach addressing the kids, not vice versa.
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Unread 10-13-2004, 10:36 AM   #22
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

And for the people you work for i.e. a shliach/ shlucha, do you call them by their first names, even if they tell you too?

I personally don't feel comfortable to do that, but their community calls them or at least the shlucha by her first name, the shlucha says that when calling her with a title, it makes her seem too old and like her mother-in-law
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Unread 10-13-2004, 10:40 AM   #23
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Nechama addressed that:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nechama
Maybe you can explain that you were taught that it is a sign of respect to use a title when referring to others.
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Unread 10-13-2004, 10:56 AM   #24
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Re: Addressing a Member of the Opposite Gender

Quote:
Originally Posted by jewgal84
And for the people you work for i.e. a shliach/ shlucha, do you call them by their first names, even if they tell you too?

I personally don't feel comfortable to do that, but their community calls them or at least the shlucha by her first name, the shlucha says that when calling her with a title, it makes her seem too old and like her mother-in-law
Where I live, the Rabbi is addressed as "Rabbi" or "Rabbi SoAndSo", and the Rebetzin is addressed by her name or if she is older "Mrs. SoAndSo".
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Unread 10-13-2004, 11:07 AM   #25
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perhaps "Rabbi Firstname" is an acceptable compromise? (not sure)
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