Bizarre Haredi Naked Swims?

Does anyone have any information about these allegations?

I met a (non-Jewish) guy who worked at the Park Heights JCC in Baltimore around 1994-1997. He told me that he was shocked at what goes on there at the men’s-only Sunday morning swim. The men there identified themselves as Hassidic. Apparently, everyone swims nude, including the children. The men lounge around in the buff on the leather couches.

"There’s something really disturbing about seeing a 40 year old man perform a backflip naked," he said.…

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10 Comments

Filed under Crime, Haredim

10 responses to “Bizarre Haredi Naked Swims?

  1. Yos

    Eh, nothing wrong with a little naked swimming. Other than being kinda gross. I doubt the whole story, though. Especially the ‘hassidic’ bit. Could a ‘non-Jewish guy’ really distinguish hippie BT from Hassidic.

  2. Jath

    yos,
    sure, it’s easier to be in denial.
    that way, nothing happened! don’t you think?

  3. levi

    epidermaphobic, ay??

  4. Doc Hantarish

    Jeez, get a life.

    When I was a teenager, my Dad used to take me to the YMHA in Philadelphia after Shabbos services. The Y was closed for the general public but open for the “health club.” At the time only men were allowed. Which meant that not only did they hang out nude in the steam room, but a lot of them also liked to swim nude. I never, ever saw any activities that weren’t 100% kosher going on. (Unless you believe that people should do athletics and swim on Shabbos.)

    I was a member of the Baltimore JC in the 80s and 90s, and occasionally used the Park Heights Branch during Male only swims. Yeah, some of the guys swam in the nude? So what? They also hung out nude in the steam room and took communal showers. Again, I never saw any improper activities. Good grief, ho could anyone do anything, everything’s out in the open?

    I think this is a generational thing, the old guys who grew up before WW2 saw nothing unusual about single-sex skinny dipping. I think that, despite the sexual revolution of the 1960’s we’ve become a bunch of sicko puritanical prudes who freak out at a little nudity.

    My own yeshiva-bochur grandfather used to go to a mikva/sauna in Lithuania every every Shabbos, and dis the whole sauna ritual, including rolling around naked in the snow afterward.

    What’s the big deal?

  5. The problem is that this would all be a violation of family purity: otherwise there would have been no shame in Noah unveiling his nakedness to his children.

  6. Jath

    “…there would have been no shame in Noah unveiling his nakedness to his children.”

    well put daniel.
    (i don’t know about family purity end.)
    but i am told that by those swimming, a man wearing a sleeveless shirt or even short sleeves shirt is considered pocheach. (a thug, a goon if you will). never mind showing his bris miloh to all.

  7. Doc Hantarish

    Oh yes, one other point about nude swimming at the JCC or YMHA. They have lifeguards on duty. Watching everybody. Mostly to make sure no one’s drowning, but, of course, they could easily detect any other unwanted activity.

    Oh, yes, and even during co-ed family swims, do you think that there’s some special kiddie locker room, where Mom and Dad can drop off 4-year old Junior to shower and change by him ( or her) self? Guess what? The kids go into the locker room with Mom and Dad and about a zillion other naked people of the same gender. In fact the Baltimore JCC had a rule when I was a member that parents could bring their kids of the opposite gender into their locker room up until age 6. So not only could Dad take Junior into the Men’s locker room full of naked men, Dad could also take Sis there up until she was 6! (And Mom could do the same with Junior.)

    I’m sorry if I shocked you to the point that you’ve fainted. But what else do you expect parents to do if they want to take the kids swimming?

    People need to get over this idea that nudity = sexuality 100% of the time. I don’t know what’s happened to our society. We were a lot more reasonable about this stuff 40 years ago. We’ve gone totally sicko — hypersexualized and prudish and puritantical all wrapped up in one nasty 21st century package.

  8. Yos

    “The problem is that this would all be a violation of family purity: otherwise there would have been no shame in Noah unveiling his nakedness to his children.”

    True, but this bit in question is less about observance than accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior (by general American legal standards).

  9. Yochanan Lavie

    My grandfather z”l told me that back in the shtetl of Shimorovitz (present-day Ukraine; was czarist Russia) the boys skinny dipped in the lake. It was not considered unsual. (Despite their chassidic upbringing, they swam underwater to spy on the girls, who were swimming in a secluded area.) That was the culture, back then.

    Sexualizing children is wrong, but not all forms of nudity are sexual.

  10. Nachum

    “despite the sexual revolution of the 1960’s we’ve become a bunch of sicko puritanical prudes who freak out at a little nudity.”

    Not despite, because. Everything’s become sexual.

    Nude swimming was the norm until relatively recently. When my father was a student at MTA/YU in the 50’s, swimming classes were done in the nude.

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