By Joseph Vilenski (’19)

The cultural phenomenon called “No Shave November” has passed through the San Diego Jewish Academy and was especially popular among junior and senior boys. Within a pack of boys there are usually at least one or two of them who have dark, patchy scruff on their faces and neck. It is safe to say that their mothers are not happy. Simon Shoshani’s (‘19) mother, Valerie, tells Simon every morning that he “looks like a hobo” and that he better “shave by Thanksgiving or else…”

Simon Shoshani (’19) near the beginning of his No Shave November journey. Photo: Joseph Vilenski (’19)

While  mothers may not be too fond of the beard, some girls at SDJA seem to prefer the stubble; at least on some people. As Silvia Galante (‘18) put it, “I think it looks great on some people, but horrible on others.” When asked what she thought about No Shave November in general, Julia Polacheck (‘19) simply stated, “That’s hot.”

Another aspect of the No Shave November movement at SDJA is the debate about whether women should also participate in the trend. Although it may seem “unladylike” to some, many women in society grow out their hair to free themselves from the societal standards that confine them. This is not true for the lady lions. When asked if women should also partake in this month-long journey, Polacheck flatly said “absolutely not!”

The aesthetic advantages and disadvantages of this movement seem frivolous when we consider what No Shave November was originally meant to be about. The purpose of No Shave November “is to  grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.” The No Shave November website advises, “Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.” When SDJA students were asked if they knew what the meaning behind No Shave November was, all but one said they were not aware of it. Perhaps No Shave November next year will mean more than itchy faces and debates over aesthetics.


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