Skip To Content

Jewish Grandma Gets Naked at Republican Convention — but It’s Not About Donald Trump

As the sun rose over downtown Cleveland Sunday morning, Marsha Besuner Klausner wore a bandana festooned with American flag pins — and nothing else.

As the 65-year-old Jewish grandmother stood nude with a group of 99 other women on the day before the Republican National Convention, Klausner couldn’t stop thinking about how great it was to see such a diverse group of women proudly baring it all.

“We do it for the doctors all the time,” she said. “This time we did it for ourselves.”

Klausner did not tell any of her family or friends that she would be featured in Spencer Tunick’s Everything She Means Everything art installation, in which the women posed nude while holding mirrors in between a warehouse and a fire station in downtown Cleveland on Sunday. Over 1,800 women from all over the country applied to participate.

Tunick once did a similar shoot at the Dead Sea in Israel.

Although many of the women who got naked did so out of a desire to protest Republican rhetoric about abortion or women’s rights, Klausner did not join the group to protest Donald Trump or the GOP.

Klausner, who often played Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” to her daughter when she was little, said she simply wanted to be part of the women who gathered to shed their clothes together without fear or judgement.

“It’s just a way of saying ‘I’m here, I’m strong and I’m not afraid,’” she said.

Klausner was bullied in school and doesn’t normally enjoy being photographed. She didn’t even know that the photo shoot would involve mirrors until she showed up on Sunday.

“I’m actually very modest,” she said. “I never go into a synagogue or a church without my head covered and my arms covered and a long appropriate dress.”

So shedding it all for a camera definitely pushed Klausner outside her comfort zone.

After participating in the project, she received phone calls of support – some from friends, others from someone who used to babysit her kids when they were little – expressing support and even, in one case, a desire to do the same one day.

But despite the strong sense of sisterhood and solidarity at the event, Klausner says she won’t be heading out in her birthday suit any time soon.

“This is not something that I would normally do ” she said. “Nor would I ever do it again.”

Contact Veronika Bondarenko at [email protected] or on Twitter, @veronikabond.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.