mixed swimming

Swimmin' Orthodox women: A complex synagogue-and-state gender wars story

Swimmin' Orthodox women: A complex synagogue-and-state gender wars story

This isn't your basic separation of synagogue-and-state debate that we have here, care of The Atlantic. At least, I don't think so.

Instead, we have a story that -- with the tsunami of gender-identity news about showers, locker rooms and bathrooms -- raises lots of questions linked to public funds, female privacy, religious liberty and, yes, another dose of GetReligion mirror-image news analysis, as well.

As you would imagine, the lawyers in New York City are pretty used to dealing with complicated questions linked to Orthodox Judaism and public life. Now we have this newsy double-decker headline:

Who Should Public Swimming Pools Serve?
Women-only hours at a location in Brooklyn have ignited a debate about religious accommodation and the separation of church and state.

Now, the story by Adam Chandler does make it clear that the issue of "women only" hours at a public pool is not a new one. This isn't the only case involving religious doctrine and the privacy rights of women. But here is the overture, just to get us started.

Oh, I should issue a trigger alert for readers troubled by the word "theocratic," care of, logically enough, an editorial in The New York Times.

This week, a public pool in Brooklyn became the diving-off point for a new clash over religious law and religious coercion in New York City. For decades, the Metropolitan Recreation Center in Williamsburg has offered gender-separated swimming hours in an accommodation to the heavily Hasidic Jewish community that it serves.

Please respect our Commenting Policy

'Modest' bathing suits featured on Wall Street Journal's front page — what's religion got to do with it?

'Modest' bathing suits featured on Wall Street Journal's front page — what's religion got to do with it?

Today's Wall Street Journal features a front-page trend story on "modest" bathing suits.

I read the lede and immediately felt my GetReligion Spidey sense tingle:

WEST ORANGE, N.J. — When Deborah Nixon heads to her local pool in her swimsuit — a pair of long black leggings and a matching short-sleeved top like surfers wear — she gets compliments and admiring glances, at least from other women.
“It is the New Sexy,” says Ms. Nixon. The 58-year-old, who has abandoned her conventional one-piece bathing suit in favor of the more elaborate get-up, is convinced she looks and feels better with less of her showing.
A whole lot less.
Ms. Nixon, a former nurse and retired captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, is a fan of so-called modest swimsuits. This increasingly popular style of beachwear is a far cry — and for some women a welcome relief — from the skimpy bikinis and bare-all Brazilian bottoms that have dominated beach fashions.

A little personal background: Growing up in Churches of Christ in the South, we didn't believe in "mixed bathing," which referred to boys and girls swimming together. My family did watch "The Love Boat" on Saturday nights, which always confused me. Not that I complained.

Please respect our Commenting Policy