Q. I’m a frum woman that attends an exercise class for women in a gym where the trainer is not Jewish. Is there an issue of tznius in front of non- Jewish men, since it is not one of the seven mitzvos that apply to them?
Would someone be allowed to go swimming at the women’s hour, if the lifesaver is a non-Jewish man?
A. Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that even if no actual prohibition may have been transgressed and no “lifnei iver” or placing a stumbling block in front of the blind applies, there are other most important issues involved, namely tznius or modesty and decency.
Tznius involves not only prohibitions, such a woman covering her elbows and knees, or a married woman covering her hair in public, etc. it involves also the character and spiritual quality of covering herself and her hair all the time, even when she is alone inside her home, only in front of Hashem. In Halachic prohibitions there may be differences between being in front of a Jew or a Gentile. However, on the character and spiritual quality of tznius, a woman should be dressed with modesty wherever she goes, even in a site where there are only Gentiles.
The Rov added that out of her own sense of kavod, self worth and honor, she should always dress in the becoming and decorous ways of a Bas Yisroel, regardless of where she is.
He further advises, that the frum attendants to the gym or pool, should join forces to procure a woman trainer or lifesaver.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a