The Galilee Scandal (aka Swimming Nude in the Sea)

Israel, Sea of Galilee (Lake of Tiberias)

Along with Todd Akin’s asinine choice of words we have ourselves another scandal – only this one is so much more fun!

Enter the Swimming nude in the Sea of Galilee Scandal of the Summer.

After a long, hot day in Israel, Republican lawmakers along with some of their families and staff decided to jump into the Sea of Galilee. Many jumped in fully clothed but one free-spirited Republican bared more than his opinions, stripping down and swimming sans clothes in the beautiful sea. He may be the first elected official from the United States to do so, but believe me – swimming nude in the Galilee is a bipartisan activity that has been enjoyed by many.

One group in particular comes to mind. The Middle East Studies Program that began in 1993 under my husband’s leadership brought students from all over the United States to study in Egypt for a semester. Included in this study abroad program was a trip to Israel/Palestine. A good motto for one most semesters would have been “What happens in Galilee stays in Galilee”, for it was a bit more racy than fishes and loaves. On a night with clear sky, a slivered moon and twinkling stars the guys in one group decided to experience the sea in a more intimate way – they swam nude (skinny dipped if you want to use the vernacular) While one of the women in the group guarded their clothes, the men enjoyed a memorable evening. It should be noted that their fearless leader was a full participant in the scandal.

So what do I think of elected officials doing the same? Good for them! Personally I don’t equate nude bathing to having affairs and sending pictures of private parts to anonymous ladies that you meet over the internet.

These people live under a microscope, their every word and sentence questioned, parsed, and diced. Within one day their lot can change– so argue their politics all you want, but for God’s sake let them frolic in the sea! Who on earth did they hurt?

And if, in the process one of them brings back some drops of water for a baptism, good for him! It’s a story their child will never forget.

9 thoughts on “The Galilee Scandal (aka Swimming Nude in the Sea)

  1. I did not know this about the Sea of Galilee. I seem to learn something new every day! I really enjoyed this post. Regarding nudity, I think American’s have the most unhealthy views of the human body. I have always been different, looking at the human body as a beautiful and amazing life form, and not a sexual tool. Bravo to those who have indulged in what I would consider a liberating and freeing esperience… no one should apologize for enjoying a nude dip!


    1. I agree! Annelies who commented below is from Holland and she brought up the same thing. For all our lack of inhibition about PG-13 innuendo and stupid frat boy humor our views of the body need a real make over. Thanks Lori!


  2. I’m feeling naughty myself! I suppose the “fearless leader’s” wife was back in Cairo with the kids. Every time we came back from our very conservative area of Pakistan I had to re-learn how to relate to men – I was walking with one of my little ones in a stroller and a truck driver stopped to ask me directions. It took me a minute to remember where I was, and that it was ok to respond to a strange man on the street!
    We do need a balance. I confess to being a bit like the Grumpy Grandma when I see young women, and some not so young dressed in so little out in public. There is a healthy respect for our bodies that includes modesty – my body isn’t there for the whole world to see. I realize that at 84 years old I am from another and very different generation. Perhaps we all older and younger need to have an honest discussion about what is modesty and how do we balance it with a healthy view of our bodies.
    But that is quite far off from your topic of nude bathing in the sea of Galilee! Many swimming suits leave very little to the imagination.


    1. Haha – I’m the grumpy grandma too then! I can’t stand some of what people wear. And I agree – the discussions on healthy views of the body and healthy modesty seem so lacking and yet so important. Thanks mom!


  3. One of the “related article” links that comes up on this post is “Is skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee sacrilegious?” which brings up this: Buried in some of the stories were quotes to the effect that some of these guys wanted to get the “full experience” of the Sea of G., whatever that means. Maybe it was really a baptismal service but no one wants to admit it? Now *that* would be a scandal…


    1. I thought the same thing – what if it was really a Baptismal service and no one’s going there! All I know is it’s a beautiful sea and I myself would like to go swimming there….all be it – with clothes.


  4. This wouldn’t have even made the news in Continental Europe – no, we don’t walk around naked all day, but I do think we have a more natural relationship with our bodies. I had to ‘unlearn’ so much of the akwardness I learned @ Murree when I got home….


    1. I love this comment! I think you may well be right. I remember a German woman saying to one of my sister-in-laws on my husband’s side “You Americans – you’re very mixed up about the body -” it was about breast feeding – American women are so messed up about breast feeding and this woman saw right through it “You think breasts are about sex and sex alone! You’re wrong! They’re about feeding your baby!” It was a good rebuke. would love to have a longer conversation on this – When is Janet going to have another wedding! haha. By the way – your post was incredibly well received. Great job.


      1. Hi Marilyn, would love to discuss this further, but hopefully not over another Janet wedding! I’m in the U.S. every few years, next time I’m there I’ll try to fit a visit in! And you’re always welcome here!


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