Skip navigation! Story from Take Back The Beach. Sara Coughlin. Pay a visit to the beaches in Tel Aviv, and it may surprise you how similar they feel to the seaside towns in the U. Tourists and locals intermingle, women stroll around in sundresses and swimsuits, and people notice and discuss each other's bodies. Photographer Mayan Toledano , who visited Tel Aviv for Refinery29, tells us that the women she shot and interviewed at the beach were more than happy to share memorable comments they've received about their own bodies. Overwhelmingly, the first remarks that leapt to mind for these women were negative ones. But the comments they found problematic weren't exclusively negative. In fact, many of the women said that even compliments made them feel self-conscious — or, as Toledano put it, "measured" against other women.
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No vacation in Israel is complete without hitting the beach, if only to guarantee that light tan that will make your sun-deprived colleagues back home even paler with envy. But going to the beach here is not without its unique traditions and particularities, and could potentially leave you feeling like a fish out of water. The surest way to blend in on an Israeli beach is not to be glaringly pale, or worse, deep purple from a beach day gone horribly wrong. So how are all your sunbathing neighbors sporting that golden tan? The secret lies in military-grade planning that involves hitting the beach all the way back on that freakishly hot day in March, which was completely dedicated to skipping school or work and getting started on summer skin. A favorite Israeli beach side pastime involves feeling immensely superior to everyone else see above for thoughts on sunburned tourists or, alternatively, dedicating yourself entirely to hitting on foreign female beach goers.
Updated: March 9, pm. An Orthodox Jewish girl enters Tel Aviv's "religious" beach, one of 12 gender-segregated beaches in Israel. RNS photo by Michele Chabin. TEL AVIV, Israel - It was Sunday - women's-only day - at the so-called religious beach in this Israeli city on the Mediterranean, and several hundred women and girls sat on the sand or frolicked in the gentle waves with an abandon they rarely exhibit elsewhere. While some European beaches are banning women dressed in "burkinis" and other modest swimwear, and Americans are challenging women's-only swimming hours at public pools, this Israeli beach has long been a haven for women whose strict religious beliefs, community norms or fears of sexual harassment, among other reasons, make swimming or sunbathing alongside men undesirable, even impossible. Established decades ago, Tel Aviv's religious beach is one of about a dozen gender-segregated beaches sprinkled around Israel. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are designated for women only, with alternate days for men. Enshrined into law decades ago by ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmakers, the segregated beaches attract mostly religious Jewish women, judging from their street clothes, "but also some secular women," according to Yossi Cohen, the beach's male supervisor.
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