Outlets and Honesty


zumba-fitnessBy S. Friedman, Matzav.com

Recently, there has been a big hullabaloo over the inclusion of wildly popular workout craze within a frumgym. Here’s the synopsis: a dance oriented exercise class called Zumba, which features rowdy music with a Latin flair, to which one gyrates in an aggressive manner in order to burn off those calories. It’s supposedly very effective, fun, and easy to do on a consistent basis. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention- it’s completely goyish. So, in reaction to many people’s concerns, and most importantly on the advice from local rabbonim, the proprietor of the gym stopped the class, much to his credit.

Reaction to this move has been predictably divided. There are those that feel that once again a fun outlet enacted within a frum setting has been unjustifiably condemned and banned by those whom posses a “holier than thou” attitude and are incapable of being more open-minded and tolerant. The other side feels that if there is a frum “kosher” gym to utilize, then how about we keep it “kosher” for everyone and not let aspects that are unacceptable be a part of the gym program because others enjoy it.

Some people are saying that they will now go to a regular gym where they can still get their Zumba (or I assume similar type of class) and it’s a shame that others can’t mind their own business. Some say it’s no worse than goyish music that finds itself inserted into Jewish songs. Others make the point that the internet is worse than Zumba, so let’s not be talking about it online.

One thing I noticed from the pro-Zumba “camp”: no one is contesting that the music and dancing are indeed decadent in nature. There are only claims of “stop being extra frum on my cheshbon,” or “you’re taking away everyone’s outlets.” Hence, people are upset at the “frum Taliban,” and some are even coerced to joining a non Jewish gym to get their Zumba fix.

Something like Zumba, done in a public place nonetheless is not a “kosher” outlet. Rabbonim (and common sense, as proven by the aforementioned conceding the point by the pro-Zumbas) have told us as much. Unfortunately it seems many people are resentful or will miss it because of the outlet it provides.

Obviously people’s sensitivities are relative. A relaxing trip to the zoo may be an excessive exposure to pritzus for others. However, when people from a “yeshivish” background commonly claim such questionable escapades as outlets, I think it’s time they did some serious soul searching.

It’s not just Zumba; there are many things (i.e. gambling, lewd movies, inappropriate reading material, trips to places that we would be embarrassed to tell our rabbonim about) that outwardly identify themselves as Torahdike straddle and cross over a very important fence, all in the glorious name of an outlet. You read the list in the parenthesis right, and people who should have higher expectations of themselves are engaging in these “outlets.”

At what point does someone admit that a certain behavior is wrong; regardless of their inability to curb their appetite for it? Almost any smoker will readily agree that it’s bad for them, but they can’t hold themselves back. Imagine, if you will, a choshuv person, even a contemporary whom you know to be more ehrlich than you. They need outlets too, and indeed they take them. For some it’s reading a Jewish magazine instead of learning. Others take hikes. Wholesome in nature and not endangering their yiddishkeit is usually the common denominator. Additionally, people immersed in avodas Hash-m tend to be happier with themselves. It’s those that have a void that have a burning desire to fill it with quick stimulating fixes.

I know not everyone is on that level, but let’s call a spade a spade. Some things are NOT okay. If you do them, that’s your business to do self introspection and know when you can overcome your tests and limit your actions. But let’s be honest with ourselves and not move over the proverbial fence just because we felt the need to cross over for the sake of having an outlet. Saying something isn’t really wrong is just fooling yourself and making it more difficult to address your own demons. If someone is going to go to a non-Jewish gym, does that sound like they are indeed deprived of all outlets and need to go to prevent suffocation? Or do they have “other” issues that they need to address? Don’t answer. That’s for them to answer themselves.

{S. Friedman-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Bill Clinton & Cain & the like also say it’s their private business. In Mitzraiyim we went down to 49th level, zumba will take you to 50th.

  2. Are not all workout routines – unless they are just doing the hora “completely goyish”?

    What does that even mean?

    isnt’t writing a website on the internet “completely goyish” even more so, yehoreg val ya’avor?

    I’m not familiar with zumba and perhaps 98% of the readership here are not either –if you want to make a point you are going to have to explain why the music and the dancing is decadent?

  3. I go to Zumba classes in an all-girls non-Jewish gym and I love it. We are all women. No men. Nothing wrong with having a little fun, an outlet and a way to lose weight and be healthier.

  4. With obesity increasing in our ranks, it is not sufficient to remove an attractive activity that leads to better health, in the name of tzinus. For every such activity that is banned, those imposing the ban need to provide two substitutes.

  5. Fool.Zumba is not an “outlet”. It is meant to be a cardivascular workout – exercize. Exercize is a commodity that is in short supply in the frum community. A good workout on a daily basis is essential to good physical and mental health, if you don’t believe all the studies than see the Rambam. we should be encouraging more exercize in the community and probably should be engaging in more themselves. It would help solve a lot of problems including Mental health issues, Shalom Bayis issues, and general health issues. there is an expression – Healthy body – healthy mind. If the music does not have immodest lyrics and the classes are seperate, than the banning of these types of classes can only be understood in the context of excessive frumkeit.

  6. I hope people realize the point of this isn’t just anti- Zumba. It’s a real (growing?) problem of younger people who have Torah backgrounds (or may be currently involved in learning) that have two lives.
    Dressing the part but watching TV shows on the internet doesn’t mean you need an outlet- it means you’re not as frum as you think you are.

  7. I never heard of Zumba, nor am I curious to try it. But I have some questions about the article. The article said that zumba is “completely goyish”.

    What makes the music goyish? Can you elaborate?

  8. I love this author! He should write more often, he single handedly proves poe’s law over and over with every post. Keep up the good work!

  9. I humbly disagree, what you recite as being wrong is that the music/ Dance is goyish. Who is to say what the line of being Goyish is? (it is not common sense it is subjective). Chasidim have a different standard than Litvaks. There is nothing assur here but different comfort levels. Gambiling is assur. I think that assuring Zumba is more destructive to Klal Yisroel than allowing woman to dance in a fun way. Klal Yisroel is not monolithic and it never was. Is someone who enjoys the fun of Zumba is less erlich than the person with a frummer personality? People should be able to express there individuality with out being condemned. I once heard someone say the reason why we have so many people off the derech is because the derech is so narrow. Lets try to widen the derech not make it more narrow. I could be wrong but this is what I think.

  10. In our town there is a Zumba class for women which my wife loves. The Frum woman who runs the classes sought the advise of the community Rabbonim about what music to use. She was told that she could use certain high-energy Goyish songs, but always without any words.
    My wife is VERY frum, as are all the women who attend the classes, and I’m certain that reading a magazine wouldn’t come close to giving her the healthy benefits of going to this class.
    “Atu B’rashi’i Askinan?”
    Frum, responsible adults should be able to act and behave completely in conformance with Daas Torah, and taking one of these classes is perfectly fine if done within the guidlines and with the guidance of Daas Torah.
    I guess I’m just a bit tired of these sweeping generalizations that are put forth because of a few irresponsible people who misuse what Hashem has given us for our benefit.

  11. now we have a problem with latino influenced music? how about sephardic arabic “belly dance” music!? It’s all female. is the goal to have a bunch of overweight women who just stay at home? Its clean fun in a woman only environment. Stop picking fights.

  12. I found the entire piece well written, but very offensive – especially the following part which is also blatantly false:

    “Additionally, people immersed in avodas Hash-m tend to be happier with themselves.  It’s those that have a void that have a burning desire to fill it with quick stimulating fixes”

    The author is right though, there is a recent phenomenon of a concerted effort by some parties to inhibit all forms of fun even when done in a kosher environment – by labeling them as “goyish”

    Such efforts have failed, are counterproductive and only increase cynicism and ridicule.

  13. @#13: The answer to your question of “who is to say what the line of being goyish is?” is Daas Torah. The canceled class that caused this article was in Lakewood, where they try to adhere to Daas Torah. The owner of the gym understood the financial risk he was taking, but because he is an ehrliche Jew he asked a sheila and went with the psak. While I do not think Zumba is a bad thing, I respect what the gym did.

  14. Mr. Friedman’s screed puts me in mind of H.L. Menken’s famous description of a Puritan as someone who is deathly afraid that someone, somewhere, is enjoying himself. He is so wrong on so many counts that it is hard to know where to begin, but I’ll mention a few.

    1. He refers to, “…goyish music that finds itself inserted into Jewish songs”. You mean like we’ve been doing for the past 1000 years? Virtually all Jewish folk and liturgical music, from oberlander marschen to chassidishe nigunim are either derivative of Gentile popular music or puloined directly from local folk tunes. Oddly, one of the few authentic Jewish musical forms developed in the last 300 years, Klezmer, is disparaged as “goyish”.

    2. He conflates Zumba with “gambling and watching lewd movies”. Really? Women exercizing to music in a completely tzniusdic manner is k’ein doing issurei d’Oraisah? please!

    3. Mr. Fiedman, when they say “Zumba isn’t really wrong”, what they mean is Zumba really isn’t wrong. being “frum on yennas cheshbon” is a greater avlah. It’s like a guest who doesn’t eat gebrokts insisting that his seder host prepare his meal in different pots.

    4. Mr. Frieman seems to be saying, in effect, that anything that is not expressly permitted is forbiden. This is anti-Torah nonsense “At what point does someone admit that a certain behavior is wrong”? When S”A Mishna Berurah says it’s wrong.
    P.S. For those of you who don’t think that the above example of gebrokts is unreasonable, ask your LOR if you can eat from non-gebrokts keilim. Of course you can. Just push the kneidlach out of the way.

  15. In regarding widening the derech, your intentions are nice but I do believe that many Gedolim have advised against “relaxing” our standards in order to be mekariv more.
    It may be easier to make Orthodox Judaism more appealing and less restrictive to prevent people from going off the derech, but then which Orthodox Judaism is it that we’re trying to share? Imagine if we start compromising, then what will subsequent generations do?
    Anything worth doing in life isn’t easy.

  16. How in the world did you misconstrue this article as an anti-excessive post!? If that was true, the “frummer” would be calling for the Gym to close altogether.
    I know Zumba- it’s dancing like a shiksa would. It’s provocative. It’s GOYISH.
    Can’t this be any clearer?!
    What is it that CAN be considered goyish if so many people can’t tolerate something like Zumba being called what it is?

  17. #10,

    Being erliche used to be the goal. Now, as you bear out, being “frum” is the goal.

    I’d be much happier dealing with Yidden who strive to be erliche, and not worry about everyone else’s choice of exercise routine.

  18. Isn’t the fact that the Rabbonim were consulted & said to remove it sufficiant? Where is daas Torah? Thats the most imp. question here! You can have all the answers and explanations why Zumba is proper, good ,healthy,and mind your own business, but if you dont follow the Rabbonim you dont begin to have a right to a Daiya!!!

  19. To those that say that they are doing it for exercise, well as an exercise fan myself, there are many other exercises out there that can help you lose weight and be healthy. Why choose Zumba, which has music that sounds like its coming from a tumah place, and extremely provocative moves? For yourself it should matter even if its not done in public. Why would you want your body and ears to be accustomed to this? Just because something is done for a good purpose doen’t always make it right. Its the way you do it.

  20. I know what Zumba is and I honestly don’t understand what can be wrong about it. If women want to do it and as long as men are not around, let them enjoy it.

  21. I’m using anonymous because I don’t see that the writer used his full name and identifying details. That’s really standing up for what you believe is right. Also, let’s assur women dancing at weddings .

  22. Mr Friedman,
    in your entire article bashing zumba goers and comparing them to gamblers,you still did not explain what you find to be wrong with women (or men) doing a dance workout in private. Please enlighten us?

  23. The writer of the article is right on track! Thank you Matzav!

    Rabbonim called on the owner to stop the class. Are the commentators here that are against the banning of Zumba directing their “beefs” to Rabbonim? Or are they just assuming that they know better what’s appropriate than our talmidei chachomim?

  24. The Gym Lakewood cancelled its popular Zumba class for women. The Latin music and dance work-out class became very popular recently, but when the atmosphere at the classes deteriorated to a less than desirable situation for a Bas Yisroel, the Gym and Rabbonim began getting complaints, sources say. Following the numerous complaints, the management consulted with Da’as Torah, and decided to cancel the class.

    The Gym said, “We are confident that we will have new programs which offer an opportunity for women get the same benefits as they got from Zumba”. The Gym said it hopes to replace the Zumba class as early as next week.
    They also said they hope other Gyms do the same thing in regards to the Zumba class.

  25. How in the world did you misconstrue this article as an anti-excessive post!? If that was true, the “frummer” would be calling for the Gym to close altogether.
    I know Zumba- it’s dancing like a shiksa would. It’s provocative. It’s GOYISH.
    Can’t this be any clearer?!
    What is it that CAN be considered goyish if so many people can’t tolerate something like Zumba being called what it is?

  26. at least we have someone, namely Rabbi Friedman, having the courage to stand for what is write. Dont listen to the apilorsiom who seem to know better

  27. I will attempt to explain to those comments that said, “What is wrong doing it in private?”
    In our morning davening we say, “Always let a person be G-d fearing privately and publicly——– ” Publicly is obvious but what does privately mean? If you take the time to read the commentators you will find the following thought.A Frum Jew should also not do in private what he or she would not do in public. If you would be embarrassed doing it publicly, then don’t do it privately either.It doesn’t matter that the sexes are seperate. There is a story of a woman who had 5 sons that all grew up to be Talmidei Chachamim with wonderful midos. When asked to what she attributed this to, she answered, ‘My entire life the walls of my home never saw me with my head uncovered” This may be foreign to some of you but please take the time to reflect on her answer.

  28. There is nothing assur about women dancing in an environment without males to any kind of music. The word lewd in general when not referring to the opposite gender is strange. We are all at different levels of frumkeit. It depends on the frumkeit level the gym and the rabbonim of Lakewood would like to target. Clearly there are many women in Lakewood who don’t need a rabbi to give a hechsher on an exercise class.

  29. I never took zumba classes nor am I inclined to do so. I’ve heard though, from women who watched the classes in action and from ppl in the gym industry, about these classes and what makes them so detrimental frum yidden.

    Zumba is a type of excersize in which ppl listen to certain specific songs and music, and perform various moves to work out the body.

    So then what’s the problem? Isn’t aerobics the same thing?

    The answer is that in a Zumba class, the movements are made up of maneuvering certain parts of the body in a very untznius way. I don’t want to go into detail since men will be reading this too.

    Another aspect is the music designed for Zumba. The music is made up of beats and rythms that would put a rock band to shame, and the lyrics are made up by goyim from who-knows-where and the music very obviously reflects their outlook on life.
    Again – I’m taking this from ppl in the know – who’ve been there, done that.

    I’m always doing excersize and there are enough aerobics, excersize and dance machines to keep us satisfied – without having to resort to Zumba.

  30. Firstly, your tone is overly condescending, and very haughty, so much so, that I think writing a response to your “facts” will be wasted because you seem to be on an intellectual level all to your own.
    Saying something is wrong only if it’s implicit in the Shulchan Orach or Mishna Berurah is ignoring the whole concept of Kiddoshim T’yhu. The Rishonim’s (who predate both the Shulchan Orach and M”B) explanation of that is the idea of a Yid living not only by the letter of the law, by also in the SPIRIT of the law.
    Would you think that a frum girl should go to a night club in Manhattan? Even if it’s an all girl’s club and there isn’t an issur to be found in the M”B? The answer is (should be!) a resounding “No.” What we need Rabbonim’s guidance for is the more subtle question of bringing the night club dancing into the frum gym.
    PS- I specifically asked a poisek (a known “meikel” at that) about eating from gebroktz keilim by my in-laws and he told me to use plastic/separate keilim. Not everything you say/hear is factual- there are many ways of the Torah.

  31. There is more to tznius than whether things are being done in front of men or not.
    Tznius for a woman is an internal middah that needs to be cultivated and protected.

    When a womanacts in a provocative manner, on a regular basis, to provocative music, she is in danger of damaging her sensitivity to tznius in general.

    All those who are saying that exercise is important are correct. What is incorrect is to imply that without Zumba, women are left with no fun exercise outlet.

    If a woman davka wants a dance outlet, there are many ways to do it without Zumba. And if it is just the exercise she wants, there are innumerable ways to exercise, burn calories and stay fit.

  32. Twenty years ago my Rebbi said “Unfortunately today we are inverted morranos. We are Jewish on the outside but Oy are we Goyish on the inside.”

  33. Excellent. One omission. Fancy sheitels are another form of “kosher” Zumba. There is no excuse or halachic justification for them. Maybe need to educate both zachar and nekeiva so that we don’t fall into these dangerous pitfalls and keep our community clean? This article appears to be a step in that direction. Y”K

  34. Aha! I’ve been wondering why the dancing on our side of the mechitza (I am a woman) has been resembling a disco lately. What is done in private will always eventually come out in public. Tznius is not only about dress, it is about restraint, certainly in movements of the body. My understanding of Zumba is that it promotes the opposite of restraint. So while it might be healthy for the body, it is highly unlikely to be healthy for the soul.

  35. Your quote is based on 2nd hand info from someone who never took the class! If you want to give a opinion on something either try it out, talk to someone who has, or at least go see what your commenting on. you have as much nemonus as the class instructor. Get a life!

  36. Excellent article!!
    I know what zumba is, I am a woman who has seen it and has opted out. If you wouldn’t dance like that in front of a man, you shouldn’t do it in front of women, either. Tznius is not just about men.

  37. I would like to call attention to a certain incident with a snake and the aitz hadaas. The method that the nachash used to CORRUPT was by telling chava not to touch, when Hashem said only not to eat. Being over-frum on yennems cheshbon results in more chait, not less, because people say that just like I am doing this I might as well do that, since they are being called equally bad.
    And for all the people who are pointing out why they feel Zumba is the worst thing since the chait haigel, methinks they are missing the point: If you feel that way, dont do it. Period. public private, it doesnt matter. But just because you feel that way does not mean the next person feels that way. And if it is a subjective question, which this clearly is, without any overt issurim, and if there are some rabbonim who feel it is totally fine while some feel it isnt, then by forcing your opinion on others you are doing Hashem and his Torah a DISservice, and losing your menshlichkeit and ehrlichkeit in the process. And BTW, tzniyus is a shortened word for HATZA LECHES, and that is a way of acting and speaking that these people who foist there commendable chumros on other people end up not so commendable. They also show their insecurity with their yiddishkeit, leaving one to wonder who it is that has the void…

  38. pro·voc·a·tive/pr??väk?tiv/

    Causing provocation, esp. deliberately: “a provocative article”.
    Arousing desire or interest, esp. deliberately.

    Who exactly are they causing provocation to?? An action cannot be inherently provocative by definition.

  39. We must always separate between the modernization of yidishkiet and the modernization of society. The fact that something is “new” in itself is not an indication of its modernization of yidishkeit.

    Also step back and try to recall how our music looked twenty years ago and what was considered “goyish” then, those goyish songs are now even old fashioned for the “yeshivishe oilum”.

    anyways is it Zoom-buh or Zoom-ba?

  40. I think it is about time that we ban the most goyish thing around. It is called breathing. Goyim do it during the most improper non tzniyusdic opportunities. If we copy them, we run the risk of being poretz geder and chas vesholom may lead to the most heinous of all sins……mixed dancing. WE MUST LIMIT THIS MOST PERVASIVE ACT OF CHUKOS HAGOYIM AT ALL COSTS. BREATHING is an activity that is very easy mimic and not even be aware that we are copying the goyim when we are OVER this terrible AVLAH.

  41. This is one ban I fully support and I believe they should ban a number of other exercise classes as well simply for shalom bayis reasons. Unfortunately, it has not become the style for women to leave their homes and exercise while their husbands sit at home and eat chulent and kugel. What happens is that the wife loses weight and is fit and trim while the husband packs on the pounds and looks like a fat slob. This causes the husband to have self esteem issues and ultimately results in shalom bayis issues. To address these serious problems, it is essential to ban all women exercise classes.

  42. My wife has attended a Zumba class in E’Y where the FRUM instructor who consulted the rav on which music was appropriate. This class is in a closed room and is women only. They do not play music with words.

    The beat of music has little to do with “goyish” vs “jewish”. Zumba is a dance that can be done to anything with a particular rhythm and tempo. There are plenty of well known songs from established and accepted frum performers in Latin tempo. If you listened to mainstream Jewish music in the 90s, you listened to a similar tempo.

    BOTTOM LINE: This is a decision for women to make in consulting with THEIR RAV. There are many chilukim within Da’as Torah on a variety of subjects. Making a universal statement of issur (and thereby putting down the many people and rabbanim who have mattered) requires big shoulders.

  43. OK, everyone. Full disclosure.
    While I have been fully chareidi for many years, I come from a Modern Orthodox family. I have an extensive dance background, in both ballet and jazz. I am very pro-fitness, I believe that staying in shape is crucially important – for both women AND men.

    I wanted to see this Zumba for myself. I took a 10 minute break from work (I am a marketing writer, which is why I have Internet in the first place), requested that my Rimon filter be lowered for 10 minutes, and did a YouTube search for Zumba.

    I watched for maybe 5 minutes and felt nauseous.
    This stuff is what is known as “dirty dancing”.
    The only way it could be worse is if it were done in pairs.

    As I said before, tznius is much more than an issue of what a woman does or doesn’t do, wears or doesn’t wear when men are around. The Midrash tells us that when HKB”H created Chava, with every part of her that He created He told her, “heyi tznuah”. Tznius is the essence of a Jewish woman. It is a middah, not just a dress code.

    Women dancing like this – it makes no difference that it’s an all-women’s class – has to have an effect on their inner tznius. I am not going to go into details of what I saw. But it is inconceivable that a woman can dance like this for an hour a week, to this kind of music, and not damage her sense of tznius. And that’s for married women. For girls it’s that much more catastrophic. I am not exaggerating.

    As far as #52’s comment – “if you feel that way, don’t do it” – that completely misses the point. Obviously no one should harass any woman who goes to a Zumba class. But to have an open discussion about whether this is appropriate for our communities, whether this should be an accepted mode of exercise for our women and kol shekein for our girls, most unquivocally does not qualify as forcing one’s opinion on others.

    And yes, #52 is right. Hatzneia leches im Elokecha means, among other things, that Hashem wants everything we do – the way we speak, the way we dress, the way we carry ourselves and yes, the way we exercise – to be done with the conscious awareness that we are walking with Him.

  44. #35, Rabbi Friedman does stand up for what is “write,” but not necessarily for what is “right.” And what is an “apilorsiom?”

    Chana (#56 and more), while respecting your opinion, please do not be so closed and narrow-minded as to so lightly discredit and write off Choshuva Rabbonim and Rebbetzins who have Okayed Zumba classes for their communities. And these communites are NO LESS FRUM, and the Rabbonim and Rebbetzins are NO LESS KNOWLEDGEABLE than those in Lakewood.
    I would prefer to do what the Rambam says to do: Take the Derech Hamemutzah – the middle ground, without becoming fanatical – as you seem to be.

    Why can’t we just all agree that as long as Daas Torah has been sought and is being followed, then there are Shivim Ponim L’Torah, and there can be more than one correct answer to any one issue?

  45. Look at #61 Chaya (and her previous post). Why can’t people admit that when a LADY (without men present) is saying it’s akin to “dirty dancing” and is abhorrent, why are so many rushing to its’ defense?
    Just because some people resent it when they feel more “frummer” are dictating to them what is allowed and isn’t, doesn’t mean you can’t agree when something is so clearly wrong!

  46. #63 – The answer to your question is really simple, Koach D’Hetaira Adif. It’s very easy to just say everying is Ossur, Ossur.
    It takes much more Seichel and common sense AND Daas Torah to properly analyze an issue and be Matir when Heteira is warranted.
    Your saying “something is so clearly wrong” is simply infantile and narrow-minded when so many posters (including myself) have quoted their own wives and Rabbonim and Rebbetzins who completely disagree with Chaya #61, and feel that this is appropriate for Frum women.

    “Why are so many rushing to its’ defense?” Silly question. Because if it’s Muttar, and healthy, and beneficial, then women should probably be doing it to gain its benefits.

  47. My wife and I own a women’s gym. Our Zumba instructor has added a lot of energy and excitement to our gym. This has increased attendence and the health benefits of our members. She doesn’t use music with provocative lyrics. New Zumba instructors are screened with this criteria in mind. Thank you for this article and all who contributed to the discussion. A Jew is resonsible to bring holiness down in to the world, and to bring the world up to holiness. I pray that we are accomplishing that.

  48. To R’ Eliezer,
    The question, I think, might very well be if what the gyms are touting as Zumba really is Zumba. If the music and the moves are not provocative, then it may be dance aerobics, it may be jazzercise, but it does not answer the definition of Zumba as it was created. It could be that those places where rabbonim said Zumba is OK are those that are offering a high-energy dance workout and labeling it as Zumba when it isn’t.

    Zumba by definition is a fitness workout where one dances to various styles of latino music as though one were at a dance party. If you read the Zumba website, that’s exactly what it says.

    I would actually be very interested to hear the rebbetzins you mentioned explain just how and why they think that a real Zumba class is appropriate for women belonging to a mamleches kohanim v’am kadosh, and hear them explain why this style of dance does not fly in the face of the imperative of kedoshim tihyu.

    And no, I’m sorry, but at least for me it is not simple to just say assur, assur, assur. I did research before I formed my opinion. But I will be shocked to hear any ehrliche, heimishe father say that he would be more than happy to see his teenage daughter moving in the way I saw people moving on the Zumba video.

  49. Chaya, I agree with you, except that you seem to live in such a comfortable “black & white” world where everything is so clear and clean cut.
    But the real world is replete with multiple levels in everything we do.
    What does “Frum” mean? Is there only one type of Frum?
    What does “Heimishe” mean? Is there only one type of Heimish?
    What does “Ehrliche” mean? Is there only one way to be Ehrliche
    In EVERYTHING there are so many levels and variations.
    As I’ve stated, I’m a big proponent of the Rambam that promotes taking the middle ground.

    Zumba – on the one hand – when done in a Goyisha place, and done without Yiras Shamayim, and done without any guidance from Robbonim, is most definately Ossur. You and I can agree on that. And I would never allow my daughter to participate in any such thing.

    HOWEVER, when Zumba is diluted down – the music has no words, the dancing is not person to person, etc. based on guidelines from Robbonim and Ba’alei Eitza, it is still called Zumba, but it is most definately Mutar, healthy and beneficial.
    Zumba in it’s purest definition does not comport with Kedoshim T’Hyu – but it can be modified into something that is still referred to as Zumba, but is fun, healthy and beneficial to all who participate.
    And in my opinion, it would be a shame to deprive women of this very fun and healthy method of getting their exercize and cardio workouts.

  50. To R’ Eliezer,
    That was exactly my point: if Zumba is diluted down, the music is not heavy rock/provocative, the moves are not salacious – meaning, it is no longer supposed to imitate a dance-party (by the way, in Zumba language, it’s not called a workout but a “fitness party), – then it is no longer Zumba. It is a high-intensity jazzercise or dance aerobics class, which is not something we’ve ever seen “assur’d” by rabbonim in our community.


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