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The modern movement which believes that the wearing of clothes is unnatural and that it is healthier for men and women to move about unrestricted by garments, allowing the beneficial rays of the sun to get to the body. Nudists or naturists have special camps in which their ideal can be followed without upsetting other people and there are special sections of beaches in some seaside resorts for nude bathing. Nudism conflicts with the Jewish ideal of tzeniut, ‘modesty’, in dress and comportment. No representative Jewish religious teacher, whether Orthodox or Reform, has ever advocated nudism. In the Genesis narrative (Genesis 2: 25) it is only in the pristine innocence of the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve are naked without feeling shame. After they had sinned ‘the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked’ (Genesis 3: 7). Judaism does not frown on nudism because Judaism holds the body in contempt and therefore teaches that it should be concealed. On the contrary, the reason why Judaism would be opposed to nudism is that Judaism insists on human dignity. It befits a human being to be clothed and the wearing of clothes is one of the ways in which humans differ from animals.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies — Medicine and Health.

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