Jewish Nudists – Every Wonder What Judaism Thinks Of Nudism?
Jewish Nudists – Jewish religion and nudism have both been around for centuries. But what is the Jewish religion’s view on nudism?
First, it should be noted that there are different forms of Judaism, all of which share some basic beliefs. These forms are mystic Judaism, traditional Judaism, Reform and Humanistic Judaism (to name but a few). One of the basic beliefs that all of these forms share is in the ancient festival rituals, as well as the belief regarding the nature of God and humankind and the relationship between them.
As well as sharing common beliefs, the different forms of Judaism have their separate beliefs as well. And so it is regarding naturism. The most basic belief is that nudism is only acceptable when absolutely necessary, such as when taking a shower, during certain religious rituals or during sexual intimacy. Different Jewish cultures and traditions, as well as their interpretation of the Halakha, determines how much of one’s body must stay covered both in public and in private.
Those who practice strict orthodox Judaism believe that the body should be covered and afford limited viewing by others, including one’s spouse. They follow the laws of Tznius, which means modesty. Women cover their bodies between elbows and knees, and married women cover their heads. Men must all cover upper arms, collarbones, legs and hair. Some still follow the Code of Law in the Hulchan setting forth that when using the bathroom, one must expose as little of their body as possible, and that they change before and after bed under the covers. They also believe that although both husband and wife must be naked during sex, the act must be completed under the covers and in complete darkness.
Seemingly contrary to the belief in covering one’s body, a ritual bath called “mikvaot” is practiced in some Jewish communities. All clothing, bandages and jewelry are removed before the person is submerged completely in water.
On the other hand, while not condoning nudism, more liberal Jews leave the decision up to each person.
However, there is a form of Judaism called Jewish Ascetic Nudism which embraces nude ascetic Jewish rituals. Those who practice this form of Judaism come from varied backgrounds and include those who are traditional to those who are liberal. It is felt that Ascetic Nudism is a spiritual path that is rich and rewarding. It is believed that by removing clothing during observance of rituals that they are acknowledging their wholeness as a living being that has already been blessed by God and not needing anything else to survive on this earth.
Michael Satlow wrote an article in the “Journal of Biblical Literature” wherein he sets forth the reluctance of Jewish men to be naked. He further discusses a Jewish law which states, “A woman who goes outside with even her head uncovered or garments ripped can be divorced… all the more so if she attends a bathhouse in which there are men.” Although there are different forms of Judaism with varied beliefs regarding nudism, it is obvious that the majority still believe in modesty.