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Sunday, June 27, 2021

Whatever happened to Dan Lurie


Dan Lurie was born in Brooklyn, NY on April Fools Day, 1923.  Diagnosed with a heart defect as an infant, his parents were told not to expect him to make it to age five.  Well, he ended up living to 90 and displayed a dogged determination throughout that long life to never let anything hold him back.  A scrawny kid, he took up wrestling and weight lifting to build himself up.  By age 17 he was a top high school athlete and appearing as a competitive bodybuilder.  At age 18 he was being photographed nude and seminude by some of the best photographers in New York.  So today we'll see whatever happened to this amazing guy from Brooklyn who went on to great success and to be inducted in the the National Jewish Athletics Hall of Fame.  This set may seem lengthy, but please understand that I actually left a lot of things out and may need to do a second series to do him justice.  He was that good.

 

11 comments:

  1. It is remarkable the he was inducted into the NJA Hall of Fame. Judaism does not promote nudity, and ultra-Orthodox Jews, like conservative Muslims, do not even shower/bathe completely naked, if I understand correctly. Obviously, the Laurie boys were not Orthodox. I wonder if they were even practicing?

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    1. Dan once described himself as not very devout, but able "to pray with the best of them when in a jam."

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    2. I am afraid I must correct yet another rather odd assumption about Jewish mores which seem to do the rounds. Levels of modesty do of course vary according to which stream or tradition of Judaism one belongs, but even amongst the most observant, the Hassidim, male nudity is absolutely no problem in strictly male company, and no one would think of bathing or showering without being completely naked, any more than cutting a hole in a sheet for sexual intercourse. Before the advent of modern plumbing, public sweat lodges, saunas and steam rooms were a feature in all Jewish communities, where the men would assemble to wash very thoroughly on a Friday afternoon or on the eve of holy days, before the ritual immersion in the mikvah (immersion tank) for ritual purification. The mikvah has to contain either rain water or water taken from a rising bore or stream to qualify as "living waters" and disinfectants of any sort not allowed, the washing had therefore to be very thorough. (One of the most incongruous sights I have ever seen was a Hassid making a ritual immersion entirely naked at Highgate Ponds, London, an area frequented by many gay men.) In Jerusalem, only yards from the Kotel, the Western Wall of the Temple and the most sacred site in Judaism, there is a public mikvah, where the shower room is vast and open-plan, and the men of whole families, groups of friends, and visitors shower together and then ritually immerse. If you are a visitor and on your own, the chances are that you will be approached by a group of men of your age and invited to immerse with them. There is absolutely no false modesty at all. The need for modest behaviour between the sexes is strictly observed, and the only thing in question here is whether Dan Lurie was being immodest by having his photograph taken naked. Given that his public was assumed to be male, I doubt there would, even in his day, have been many rabbinical authorities who thought him beyond redemption! I do not know the Lurie family's origins, but given some of his comments, I would imagine them to be at that time not very observant of the Orthodox tradition rather than Reform.

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    3. Thanks for the detailed info on Judaic approaches to male nudity, Julian. Washing thoroughly before immersion in "living" waters reminds me of the Japanese Onsen tradition.

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    4. Sweat lodges? I mean, I joke about how Lakota sounds like Hebrew to those unfamiliar with either (because of x/χ/ħ and ʃ being so common in Lakota) but the traditional way to do an inipi (sweat lodge) included binding the foreskin beforehand so the glans won't show. So this makes me chuckle just a bit.

      But yeah, I thought of the hole in a sheet myth and remembered how repressed the Anglosphere is. Repression leads to deviancy and seeing sex in everything.

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    5. Stupid Blogger. That second X should be a chi. IPA letters, amirite?

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  2. What a fascinating life story. Really enjoyed this series and it certainly wasn't too lengthy. Not sure that even a second series could do Mr. Lurie justice.

    Considering he was only 18 or 19 years old in this photo - and given his childhood health issues - he had a stunning physique ... and, I have to say, a beautiful bush too.

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    1. Glad you liked the series. Dan's heart murmur was of a type now known to have little, if any, ill effects. Back then, however, they couldn't tell the difference. And yes, that bush is indeed noteworthy.

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  3. Great job on this, Jerry. I think the above photo was the first one of Lurie that I ever saw (via you, of course). It is also my favorite. His physique and his boyish good looks are a perfect match. His package and afro-bush are also tops in my book.

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    1. Definitely one of a kind. Glad you enjoyed the series, Leroy.

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  4. Shows no signs of being slowed down by his heart murmur.

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