Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Canadian kosher gym?

They really gotta copy the NY Kosher Gym. I guess it is more kosher! TCJN: Although the word “exercise” and the term “Orthodox” tend not to go together much in the public mind, in fact, many Orthodox do indeed realize the importance of being fit, eating healthy and, yes, exercising.. there are more serious considerations for the Orthodox person who wants to exercise, than deciding on Pilates or aerobics, particularly for the Orthodox woman. These considerations revolve mainly around tzniut, modesty...Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, spiritual leader of Kehillat Shaarei Torah and secretary of the Vaad Harabonim, said that the Talmud exhorts women to cover certain parts of the body. Sleeves must reach the elbow and skirts are to be below the knee. Slacks, which are considered men’s clothing, are not permitted.Theoretically, Rabbi Tradburks said, women can exercise in skirts, perhaps with tights under them, and in loose tops with long sleeves, but he recognizes that “it would be extremely uncomfortable” for them. Obviously, these issues do not apply in a home environment or in an all-women gym. Exercising on fitness equipment in the home, however, the rabbi recognizes, is not as satisfactory or as effective. It is no more acceptable, he added, for women to see men immodestly dressed than it is for men to see women that way. Matthew and Felicia Taub have operated Sensible Fitness Solutions in the heavily haredi Bathurst and Lawrence area of the city since last fall. Certified physical fitness professionals, they began their careers giving private lessons in people’s homes. Since many of their clientele are part of that community, they became sensitized to their particular needs. Having Orthodox relatives, Matthew said, made them more aware and “supersensitive” on the subject. When they opened their facility, they wanted to make sure that the Orthodox, particularly Orthodox women, would be comfortable there. Matthew only gives instruction to men and boys. “I have never even seen what goes on in the women’s classes,” he said. “We guarantee privacy – doors are locked during classes, and we make sure that there are no interruptions.” In the room where group classes in yoga and aerobics are held, the windows are two-thirds tinted glass. “We left the top clear, so that sunshine, which is rejuvenating, can come in,” said Felicia. These accommodations have made haredi women feel welcome and comfortable, Matthew said. “We even have young girls from the nearby Orthodox high schools coming in to get fit.” There are classes for haredi men and boys, held at separate times and under the same conditions. Besides the issues of tzniut, the Taubs are cognizant of Orthodox cultural norms. Much of the music used in regular gyms is not considered appropriate in the Orthodox world, so even the tapes used as background are carefully vetted.
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