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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

May 20, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

At age 87, Dr. Ruth still talking frankly about sex

By KAREN DAWKINS Jewish Press


Noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer jokes with Rabbi Daniel Treiser of Temple B’nai Israel. Noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer jokes with Rabbi Daniel Treiser of Temple B’nai Israel. There were giggles and some blushing as the 4-foot, 7-inch, Dr. Ruth Westheimer stood atop what she called a “bar mitzvah box” to see over the lectern on the bima of Temple B’nai Israel to talk about her life, Judaism and of course, S-E-X.

Known worldwide as simply Dr. Ruth, the 87-year-old grandmother spoke at the annual Women of Distinction Awards ceremony before a crowd of 400, which included a healthy smattering of men.

Dr. Ruth heaped praise on the local Jewish community - Chabad, Conservative and Reform - for coming together to honor women from diverse backgrounds.

When it comes to sex, she said that Jewish teachings do not shy away from the subject.

In fact, she said there are Midrash that point out how often couples should engage in sex - at least once a week on Friday nights.


Dr. Ruth signs copies of her book, “the doctor is in,” following the Women of Distinction program. She has written more than 30 books as well as starred on radio and TV. Dr. Ruth signs copies of her book, “the doctor is in,” following the Women of Distinction program. She has written more than 30 books as well as starred on radio and TV. And, she joked, it is common in the Orthodox community for the husband to take care of the children and do other chores on Friday so his wife can be rested for their sexual encounter.

“Sex is the glue that holds a couple together,” she says.

Dr. Ruth also said the traditional monthly proscription when a couple cannot have sex is “clever,” timed to increase the “eagerness” of the couple just when the woman is most likely to get pregnant.

As to whether you can ever be too old for sex, Dr. Ruth says it all depends – on her age. “As I get older, I advance the age. Now I say 99.”

Dr. Ruth’s frank talk about sex is not always politically correct, acknowledging that she has raised eyebrows with her recent stance on when a woman loses her right to say no to sexual advances.

“Nobody has any business naked in bed unless they’ve decided to have sex,” she says, noting at that point the male’s arousal is overwhelming.

For all her notoriety as a sex therapist, Dr. Ruth might have ended up a farmer, a teacher or one of the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.

Born to an Orthodox family in Frankfurt, she was sent to an orphanage in Switzerland to escape the rise of the Nazi regime. In 1945, she went to Palestine where she lived on a kibbutz and thought she would live out her life picking tomatoes and olives. But she tired of that and, even though she did not have a high school diploma, dreamed of becoming a doctor or a kindergarten teacher.

As the desire for an independent Jewish state grew, she joined the Haganah, the underground movement fighting for independence and precursor to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). She was trained as a sniper and in a fire fight was wounded in both legs.

While she eventually moved to the United States, Dr. Ruth says she maintains her love for Israel, returning at least once a year for a visit, and she helps raise money here in the U.S. for the IDF.

“I would never touch a gun again,” she says.

At least not a real gun.

Dr. Ruth says her sharp-shooting skill did come in handy once when she went to a carnival with her grandson. One of the games had a squirt-gun target.

“We took home 12 stuffed animals and a goldfish,” she laughs.


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