Orthodox Jews, Clothing on a Hot Summer Day

by Vicki

The Orthodox Jew custom (for females) of wearing clothing that covers the body from head to ankles does not seem to cause the sort of discomfort that most non-Orthodox people would expect.

Last summer, my (large) family was at the Great Escape fun park in Lake George, New York and we encountered a group of about 25-30 Orthodox Jewish girls (apparently from a summer camp) on a day trip. These girls ranged in age from about 7 to 16, and they had four counselors (also female) with them who were in their late teens to early twenties.

They all wore dark kerchiefs on their heads, long sleeved shirts (buttoned to the neck) and heavy skirts that varied in length from ankle to between ankle and knee length. And these clothes were not lightweight material. They also were wearing dark, thick stockings (and sneakers). Not one of these girls seemed conscious of the fact that it happened to be 98 degrees that day!

Their faces were not flushed or sweaty. They didn't droop or drag themselves around. (That park is a lot of walking!) They weren't complaining about how hot or thirsty they were, and they seemed full of energy, running around, laughing, and excited and happy to be there.

It was amazing to me that every other child in the park seemed so aware of how hot it was, while these Orthodox girls did not act as if they were bothered in the least. Every other child was begging their parents (or caregivers) to please, please, take them to the water park area, NOW, but these girls were happy and content to stay in the hottest section of the park, full well knowing that they would not be going into the bathing suit-only area, to cool off.

It made me realize how much of a role your cultural background plays in mind-body effects- not just in behavior, but physically. These Orthodox girls were not suffering from the heat in any noticeable way, and their counselors did not act like they were afraid someone might suffer heatstroke or any other physical distress. Their Orthodox clothing was not the burden to them that it would have been to non-Orthodox people.

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Apr 01, 2011
Very interesting
by: lilley roseman

They are always dressed like that and they are used to it

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I saw it on this page talking about full clothing in the summer, on the home page, and elsewhere...

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