Some of the "highlights" of the mall to be include:
- No men will be permitted to shop in the model
- Clothing offered in the mall will be subject to Rabbinic approval
- Mall workers will be dressed modestly
- Mall workers will be trained to be sensitive to the frum consumer.
To be honest, I don't have a problem with most of the provisions listed above. However, the idea that only women can shop in the mall and not men sounds so much like the latest "chumra of the month" club.
Truthfully, I cannot for the life of me, fathom why the frum world has to come up with ever more and more ways of seperating men and women. I'm certainly not advocating anything inappropriate, but the idea seems to be that men should never even know that there are other women in the world aside from his wife, mother and daughters.
Of course there are those who will tell you that by minimizing the opportunities that men and women have of seeing each other, you are also minimizing the possibility of inappropriate behavior between the sexes. While that is certainly true in it's literal sense, you could use the same logic to ban cars altogether on the grounds that by doing so, you're preventing anyone from dying in a car crash.
Of course, no one seriously wants to ban automobiles (except maybe Rav Shach) because we all understand that the cost of banning them outright would far outweigh the benefit. Likewise, this monomania that the chareidi world has with the separation of the sexes in every single possible way is likely to cause more harm than good.
I, personally, happen to enjoy spending time with my wife. I enjoy the fact that I can go out in public *with* her and do things *together*. It's not a sin, folks! For example, I have a policy that I will not go to a chinese auction where there are separate viewing hours for men and women only.* I like going around to the different tables and discussing with her what to go for and what not to go for. To have to play "tag team" at these events is just too difficult, too cumbersome, and goes against the reason I married my wife to begin with - to be able to spend more time with her.
Again, I want to reiterate here - I'm not advocating inappropriate behavior. I stand firmly and squarely against adultery. But this idea of having people living in, essentially, two separate worlds is getting worse and worse.
*I don't have a problem, of course, if they have separate hours for men and women and then other times for both together. Heck, that would be great, since it would serve all people based on their particular wants.