Prof. Gideon Aran: The Nakedness of The Haredim

There was no feeling that the nakedness of the Haredim was accompanied by any particular tension. A certain degree of haste while in the nude was observed, but we can easily explain this in terms of time pressure, and not necessarily as modesty, despite many Haredim replying to questions about this matter by quoting from the halachic Rules of Dressing that are very strict on issues of exposure.

Written By Prof. Gideon Aran 

Given the background of the Haredi emphasis on bodily morality, and taking into account the rarity of other opportunities for exposure, it would have been reasonable to expect demonstrations of shame over and above those familiar to us from conventional situations of nudity in a group. However, nude Haredim seemed to move within the chambers of the mikveh calmly and as a matter of routine. Sometimes it would even seem that the Haredim at the mikveh almost verge on exhibitionism.

The high frequency of the situation, and the experience accumulated over the years since their childhood have seemingly created a routine that eases anxieties. A few more hypotheses can be proposed in trying to explain the apparent dissonance in the clear lack of shame that marked out Haredi nakedness.

Taken from “Denial Does Not Make The Haredi Body Go Away Ethnography of a Disappearing (?) Jewish Phenomenon”, By Gideon Aran.

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