When they coined the term ‘safe sex,’ they may not have been referring to a bomb shelter

In her second appearance in Tel Aviv, Dr. Ruth expounds on healthy sexual attitudes and loving relationships – providing a dose of comic respite from rocket fire.

Video by Jenny Tintner
It’s common knowledge that sex sells, and the turnout at a talk given by 86-year-old celebrity sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer last week, despite the threat of Hamas rockets falling on Tel Aviv, was testament to that. The event, put on by the Tel Aviv International Salon, was held in a secure room at Hangar 11 at the Tel Aviv port, meaning that in the case of a siren, the 650 audience members could stay put. Though no sirens interrupted that evening, rockets were clearly still on peoples’ minds, and one person asked in jest what the best sex position for a bomb shelter would be. In response, the pint-sized therapist – a Holocaust survivor and former Hagana fighter who now lives in the US – queried in her distinct German accent how likely it would be that one could get aroused with the sirens blaring. She said, however, “If you can, and you have a private safe room – have a great time!” Another member of the audience drew a chuckle from the crowd with his claim that he had found the key to peace in the Middle East: “Perhaps if Hamas focused on getting laid now rather than after death, there would be peace,” he suggested. A more serious query was put forward by a Jew who is dating an Arab, and said that the political and security situation was putting a strain on their relationship. As the questions were submitted anonymously on index cards and read out by the moderators – The Jerusalem Post reporter Lahav Harkov and Salon founder Jay Schultz – Dr.
Ruth replied that the issue required private attention and she couldn’t speculate without seeing the full picture.
The four consecutive words uttered most frequently by the charismatic sex therapist that evening were “keep your mouth shut!” “You can have a whole soccer team in bed with you in your imagination, but keep your mouth shut!” was her advice concerning fantasies, which she thinks are perfectly healthy, if you keep them to yourself.
The same philosophy was applied to a question over whether “‘shiksas’ [non-Jewish girls] are for practice.”
“Have a relationship with a Jewish woman, get married – and you can have all the shiksas in the world in your mind, but keep your mouth shut!” And the same goes for commenting on your partner’s penis size, or vocally comparing his or her performance in the bedroom to that of an ex-lover. To the surprise of some members of the audience, the doctor came back with these same words when a man asked if he should tell his wife he cheated on her. “Not unless you want a divorce,” she responded.
Dr. Ruth, herself married three times, stayed with her third husband until he died in 1997. While she clearly has a liberal approach toward divorce and re-marriage, she is less accepting of open attitudes toward sex that pervade today’s secular societies. Reiterating her mantra that she is “old fashioned and square,” she tells the Post: “I want people to fall in love and get married, and then have good sex.”
She also delights in telling her audience that in Judaism, “having sex is a mitzva, an obligation.” She then promptly calls on her listeners to “try a new position tonight and call me tomorrow and let me know how it was.”
But only those people who have partners, she hastens to add.
Dr. Ruth also makes a point of dispelling certain myths. Among these: size does not matter, the claim that women have a G-spot is nonsense, and Sigmund Freud was sexually illiterate, particularly in his claim that women who can only reach clitoral climax and not vaginal orgasm are sexually immature. The doctor keeps her famed sense of humor firmly with her throughout the event, and when presented with a bottle of wine at the end she quips: “Does it come with any men?” Director of the Tel Aviv International Salon Jonathan Javor told the Post that the organization was “honored to host such an incredible guest.”
“Dr. Ruth is a remarkable woman. Beyond having a fun and entertaining evening, many of our guests were asking serious questions and hopefully we also got to help members of our community,” he said.
“Let’s not forget that as a Holocaust survivor she was a young olah in Israel and sees us as modern-day pioneers much like she was when she first came to Israel,” added Schultz.
Dr. Ruth is not the only American visitor seeking to bring a breath of fresh air to Israelis during these tense times. This week, New York comedians Ari Teman and Danny Cohen will try to get some laughs at various bomb shelters around the country. Teman explains to the Post that he was feeling restless sitting in the US and “doing nothing more than sharing posts on Facebook” as the conflict between Israel and Gaza raged on.
He therefore picked up the phone to a few fellow comedians and suggested they brighten up the bomb shelters with a few of their jokes.
A show is scheduled for this Sunday at the Microsoft Auditorium in Herzliya at 8 p.m., one in Modi’in on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and two in Jerusalem on Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m. Teman is keen to point out that they will be happy to put on additional shows wherever there is demand for an English-speaking audience. Israeli comedians Benji Lovitt and Yossi Tarablus will also be participating in the initiative. Tickets cost $5 (around NIS 20) a head and all proceeds will go to lone soldiers.
The comic delegation also plans to visit some Israeli start-up companies and to pay a visit to some IDF bases to help lift the spirits of Israeli soldiers. “Just to say hello, tell them some jokes, thank them and leave.”
Acknowledging that this project may lose him several friends in the liberal comedy crowds, Teman says they want to show that there is more going on in Israel than rockets and sending troops into Gaza.
“The idea is to do social media friendly videos to show what’s going on in Israel – highlighting positive things aside from political situation,” Teman asserts, noting that Israeli PR is too reactive. “It’s not the blackand- white reality that gets painted on TV where there are just two sides that hate each other.”
Cohen says that since he started his career doing comedy in a laundromat, he figured he could “wing it” in the bomb shelters. “As far as sirens going off during the show, I just hope the siren doesn’t go off during my punchline because that can throw off my delivery.”
“The venues have shelters so we’ll keep joking,” Teman notes. “We’re ensuring the venues are safe so people can relax a bit.”
For more information about the comedy shows go to RocketShelterComedy.com. For information about the Tel Aviv International Salon visit their website www.TLVSalon.com.