Introduction to Israel’s Separate Beaches
In the Untied States, we go to the beach before Memorial Day, after Labor Day, on a weekday morning, or a weekday evening and one can usually find a beach to themselves. In Israel, you have some better options for any day of the year – separate beaches for men and women. Most split the hours or days when the beach is open to men and when the beach is open to women. This is not an exhaustive list – rather these are the ones I’ve been to or know enough about to comment in detail.
In no particular order . . .
Ashdod Separate Beach
The Ashdod beach is beautiful. There are large golden sand dunes and plenty of parking. As an American, I very much appreciate the parking lot. There is a fence on both sides of the separate beach and at the entrance in the rear are changing rooms, bathrooms, and water fountains. Outdoor showers and water are also on much of the beach. Due to currents / riptides this beach often has restrictions as to how far out you can go. When there are no restrictions, we actually found that just to the left of the separate area no one really walked because they’d reach the wall of the separate area and we were able to swim together as a family.
Men’s hours are Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday morning (until 1:30pm); Women’s hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings with the afternoons being the opposite. The beach is free. Kosher restaurants are about a mile’s drive away with Piscado being one of the best fish restaurants I’ve been to in my life.
Tel Aviv Separate Beach
Tel Aviv has a long stretch of beach and boardwalk with exercise equipment, large hotels, and some restaurants. Surrounded by jetties on both sides, and unfortunately not one of the nicest Tel Aviv beaches … but still plenty nice … is the separate swimming area in front of the Sheraton hotel. It’s right in the center of things in Tel Aviv which means for the frum community there’s not all that much to offer with seemingly a collection of yeshivish people around this beach area which is in front of a small park and not much else of interest. When I was there, due to rip tides one could only go out about three feet (one meter)! It seems rather excessive.
Hours are by day with men having Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; women having Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. The beach is free.
Netanya Separate Beach
Netanya has the Kiryat Sanz beach near the Kiryat Sanz community. I intended to make it here but it didn’t quite happen. Hours mirror those of the Ashdod beach above.
Kinneret – Hof Kinar
Behind a private hotel (where you can get a room and kosher l’mehadrin food if you so desire) is a free and separate all hours beach with a mechitzah right down the middle on the north east part of the Kinneret, across the lake from Tiveria. This beach is a favorite with my kids – it’s fresh water, the entire family (men and women) can go in at once, and the water is calm and cool. It was 104 F outside when I was there but it was great in the Kinneret. (Sorry – Celsius is inferior for measuring air temperature – it’s designed around water’s freezing and boiling point but we live in air, not boiling water.)
The beach is free, open all hours, has plenty of parking, is across from a gas station should you need … and is bounded by large rocks on both sides. A mechitzah of rocks runs down the middle with a life guard stationed above. You can see from the men’s side to the women’s side when you’re in the water and vice versa though you’re separated so women still need to be tznious here. It’s half hour drive to Tiveria and a plethora of kosher restaurants or about 45 minutes to Tzvat.
Caesarea is of note because it’s not far from the highway and has the remains of a Roman aqueduct which is about 2,000 years old. There isn’t much to speak of in terms of showers and it’s not a separate beach, but it’s not a busy beach. If you’re looking for a spot in the water away from others, you can probably find it here especially during down hours. Plus, if you’re traveling along the coast, anywhere between Ashdod and Neharriya, it’s an easy stop along the way. Plus, you can see some ruins, etc.
Mishpacha magazine published a list a few years back with many more beaches – here’s the picture (until they ask me to take it down) – click for larger image:
Medusa – Israel Jellyfish
You pick up some interesting Hebrew vocabulary depending on what you do in Israel. One you learn at the beach: Medusa. It’s their name for these really scary jellyfish that bite and hurt. You have to be wary of them in the early summer months … until after Tish B’av when every local will tell you they disappear as if they know it’s Tish B’Av and after that, no more pain.
Israeli beaches are wonderful! Being able to go any day of the year with separate beaches all over Israel is even better! Under the news headlines which are largely only about when people fight, you can find in so many Israeli communities beaches set aside for separate swimming for the Torah observant community. It’s really nice of these communities, some of which are otherwise very secular, to make accommodations so everyone can enjoy the beach and live and play next to each other.