While many Israelis are very informal in dress, we also live among more conservative Muslim, Orthodox Jewish, and Christian communities. This cultural setting requires the sensitivity of our students, particularly female students. In many places in the Middle East, people believe that there is a direct connection between the way that a woman dresses and what she is communicating about her sexual availability, and they see no problem in acting accordingly. Although we do not agree with this perspective, we must acknowledge it for the sake of personal safety.
Because we seek to witness to a Christian lifestyle, which displays sensitivity to the variety of cultural backgrounds of Jerusalem and those who visit or work on our campus, and because modest dress in this culture is directly related to personal safety issues, students should abide by the following:
- Short shorts and short skirts are not allowed either in public campus areas or off-campus.
- Bare feet are not allowed in indoor, public areas of the campus or in class.
- Jeans are generally acceptable for men and women anywhere.
- Pants are generally acceptable for women anywhere.
- Knee-length shorts are acceptable on field studies and in various areas of Western, Jewish Jerusalem.
- When going into Arab sections of the city, including the Old City, or Orthodox Jewish areas, women’s sleeves should be elbow-length and legs covered (with pants or a full dress). Men should also have their legs fully covered and should not go shirtless in these areas.
- It is necessary that students wear a “modesty kit” in order to visit certain holy sites (e.g. the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of the Nativity and the Temple Mount), areas (e.g. Mea Shearim) or countries (Jordan). A “modesty kit” is clothing that covers your shoulders and your legs. Students who do not wear a modesty kit will not be allowed to enter holy sites.
Please note that if your dress is considered improper, staff will remind you of these guidelines. Continued disregard of dress code regulations will result in disciplinary action.