Thursday, August 22, 2013

Swimming in the city

Apparently, the city does provide separate swim hours in parts of Brooklyn. However, they refuse to commit to providing the requested female lifeguards. From Out of Enclaves, a Pressure to Accommodate Traditions"
“We don’t have a formal policy, but we can’t commit to providing a female lifeguard because it would run against the establishment clause of providing a service on the basis of a religious belief,” Liam Kavanagh, first deputy commissioner for parks and recreation, said of the Hasidic request.
Sounds like gobbeldygook to me. It seems to makes sense that women who want to go to a pool without men wouldn't want a male lifeguard (though are some who would permit it from a halachic point of view).

Rav Aviner allowed a leniency, though the assumption here is that there is a shortage of female lifeguards, something that I doubt exists in NYC. On the Air with Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner
From Ha-Rav's weekly radio programs in Israel
29 Kislev 5769 – #65 Prepared by Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig
Visit our blog: www.ravaviner.com To subscribe, send e-mail to:
A male lifeguard at a women's pool or beach
Q: Is it permissible to have a male lifeguard at a women's pool or beach?
A: It is very difficult to find a female lifeguard since there are not exclusive courses for female lifeguards in Israel. It is sometimes possible to find a female lifeguard who is a "Baalat Teshuvah"- a woman who became religious.If it is not possible to find a female lifeguard, it is permissible to have a male one since it is a potentially life-threatening situation to swim without a lifeguard, people can drown. I am constantly warning people not to swim or immerse in a place without a lifeguard. I know people who drowned in places without a lifeguard even though they were excellent swimmers. Based on the fact that it is a life-threatening situation and that the lifeguard is involved in his job by making sure everyone is alright and is therefore not staring at women, it is permissible. My advice for women is to wear a robe until you reach the water and put it on when you leave the water.



One of the surprising views in Rabbi Falk's book on tznius permission for a woman to swim with a male lifeguard in attendance (though he stipulate that he should not be Jewish). He gave a rather chauvinistic reason for that, though: woman are not strong enough to be effective lifeguards. Of course, he also relies on the idea of a man doing a job, rather than just enjoying the view,  like a doctor, as Rav Aviner does.  I looked this up years ago and found that it is not quite true to the teshuva that Rav Moshe gave on the issue, though that is cited as the source. Rav Moshe did not say it's OK, so long as he is not Jewish. He did say it was allowed on the basis of a professional position, though he added that a wife of talmid chacham should not rely on that.  (the few times the Y had a male lifeguard during women's swim, I did without back in the day when I lived near the Clifton Y that is now no more)

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Site news

Today someone asked me where to find a certain Kallah Magazine article. It had been on the old site, but I had posted a lot less to the new one. So I now added two more pages  to http://kallahmagazine.weebly.coml. One contains most of the Divrei Torah that were posted on kallahmagazine.com and one contains two of the Money Matters pieces. Find them at http://kallahmagazine.weebly.com/divrei-torah.html and http://kallahmagazine.weebly.com/money-matters.html

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