Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q21.3.3 TOC Q21.3.5 >

Question 21.3.4:
Playtime: What is appropriate dress for swimming?


For girls, pink and frilly. For boys, anything that puffs up enormously around their waist the second they get into the water. :-)

But seriously, this would depend how the family felt in general about modesty. There are few exceptions for swimming, and the families who are most careful about this even with young girls will not allow them to swim in mixed groups if they are dressed "immodestly." Also, some men and boys will not go out with their chests uncovered.

The extent to which modesty is a concern depends both on the movement and the individual (some people are more modest than others). The more Orthodox a movement is, the greater the concern about modesty in swimming attire. Hence, it is difficult to give a broad rule. In general, especially revealing bathing suits, such as bikinis and thongs, are probably inappropriate (unless covered). Similarly, men should wear boxer-style trunks. Lastly, remember that it is not a good idea in general to start dressing very young children in ways that mimic sexually suggestive adult dress.

A good approach to modesty is to wear a very long tee-shirt (i.e., one that goes to your knees) over your bathing suit. Many people do so for other reasons as well, such as to protect one's skin from the sun. There is less of a concern around the immediate family. Note that men and boys who are uncomfortable being bare-chested should also wear a T-shirt. Obviously, a dark-colored shirt should be worn so it won't go transparent when wet and defeat the purpose of wearing it in the first place...!

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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