Are men and women allowed to sit together? (At a concert, event, etc.)
Mixed seating for men and women at Jewish events is forbidden and is a breach in Tznius laws.
See some of the following sources: Tractate Sukkos 52a where in the Beis Hamikdash they built a special women’s section so that men and women would not mix during Simchas Beis Hashoeiva. The Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 529:13) in the laws of Yom Tov also records the ruling that men and women are not allowed to sit together for eating and drinking (in particular when there is alcohol) for this brings to sin.
The Rebbe writes in Likkutei Sichos vol. 9 pg. 333 that by a wedding there must be a Mechitza up, this is even during the eating and bentching and not just for the dancing. The Rebbe also quotes the view of the Beis Shmuel (Even Haezer 62:11) that one may not say “Shehasimcha Bemoano” at a Chasuna when there is mixed seating.1
See at length the excellent book Toras Hemechitzah for details.
In order to avoid all problems, a Mechitza would need to be affixed between the men and women.2 When the crowd is not-religious, and there is concern that by having a Mechitza this will prevent people from coming to a Torah class, one should consult with a Rav.3
- The reason for this is as explained in the Beis Shmuel is that the Yetzer Hara works when men and women are together in mixed seating. The Rebbe brings that despite the view of the Levush is to be lenient on this matter, nonetheless the Rebbe concludes that today unfortunately we see that one may not be lenient in this matter.
- See: Rambam Hilchos Beis Habechira 5:9; Igros Moshe (Orach Chayim vol. 1 siman 39-44); Igros Kodesh vol. 7 pg. 309.
- See Sharei Halacha U’Minhag Vol. 3 pg. 243. The following letter referred to people who are not religious and there is possible concern of intermarriage Heaven forbid.