Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
THE RIVER OF GRIEF
Think of grief as like a river. It needs to flow.
Whether we are faced with a sudden loss or have time to say goodbye to a loved one who is dying from cancer or other chronic illness or is losing their identity to dementia, we need time to process the pain and get used to living with grief.
At first, we might feel as if we are fighting just to survive from minute to minute. But then we let the river flow.
Love Yehuda Lave
16 Fascinating Facts About Dr. Ruth's Incredible Career By Arielle Kaplan
Standing just four feet and seven inches, Dr. Ruth Westheimer says she feels like she's six feet tall. The Holocaust survivor, known as "America's sex therapist," has helped countless people reclaim their sex lives, gain ownership of their bodies, and feel like they're "normal."
Then again, according to Westheimer, 91, who is known to everyone as Dr. Ruth, "Everything is normal."
When she entered the public sphere in the 1980s with her radio show, Sexually Speaking, talking about sex and normalizing taboos was basically unheard of. She was met with immense criticism from people who thought she was blasphemous, or gave out advice too frivolously. But as a Jewish immigrant who prioritized education, nothing could stop Westheimer from preaching sex-positive gospel.
Her charisma belies her short stature — when Westheimer talks, people lean in to hear her say things like, "short people make the best lovers" (something we here at Kveller wholeheartedly agree with!) or "size doesn't matter." With her thick German accent, she became a vocal and formidable figure during the AIDS epidemic, and she fought homophobic misinformation by educating people about the disease. She also fought for a woman's right to abortion, and became the point person to ask things no one dared ask anyone else.
Just how did a Holocaust survivor wind up being one of the most famous sex therapists in the world? Well, a new documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, now streaming on Hulu, unpacks the myriad fascinating tidbits of her unlikely journey from sniper — really! — to sex therapist. Naturally, we rounded up some of the most remarkable facts about Westheimer's life and work. Read on for 16 of them.
1. Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer was born Karola Ruth Siegel in Germany in 1928. When she emigrated to Israel (Palestine at the time) after World War II, there was so much hatred towards Germany that Westheimer changed her German-sounding name. She used her middle name, Ruth, with the hope that if her parents or other family members survived the Holocaust, they could still locate her. In a particularly moving scene of Ask Dr. Ruth, Westheimer learns that her father died in Auschwitz.
2. Since emigrating to the United States in 1956, she has lived in the same apartment building in Washington Heights, New York. When asked if she wanted to move, following her fame, she said: "This is a neighborhood of immigrants, and I said, 'No, I'm very comfortable here.'"
3. She first had sexual intercourse when she was 17, "on a starry night, in a haystack, without contraception." She later told The New York Times that she was "not happy about that, but I know much better now and so does everyone who listens to my radio program." What's spicier is that the man Westheimer had sex with was her ex-boyfriend's younger brother.
4. When she moved to Israel, Westheimer joined the Haganah (now known as the IDF) and trained as a sniper. She nearly had her legs amputated after being caught in an explosion during the 1948-1949 Palestine War. Always on brand, while recovering in the hospital, Westheimer pretended that she couldn't use her arms — only her legs were injured — so that the hot doctor would feed her.
5. She was married three times, but the last one was the "real" one, she said. Her first husband was the man she lost her virginity to in Israel; they divorced because she wanted to study in France. While there, she got pregnant with her daughter, Miriam, and married a second time. The third time was the charm — she married Fred Westheimer (whom she met skiing in the Catskills!) in 1961 and the pair remained together until his death in 1997.
6. She was a single mom. It's fitting, really, because Westheimer was always ahead of the curve! In the 1950s, single motherhood was very taboo. It didn't last for long, though. Once she married a third time, the Westheimers had a son, Joel.
7. While giving a talk at Oklahoma State University, an attendee tried to make a citizen's arrest for obscenity.
8. The only possession she has from her parents' home in Frankfurt is a washcloth with her name embroidered on it. She always keeps it by her, and never forgets where it is. "It kind of links me to my past," she said.
9. When she was 10, her parents sent her to an orphanage in Switzerland on the Kindertransport. "My parents gave me life twice," Westheimer. "Once when I was born, and once when they sent me to Switzerland." There, she helped to take care of the other orphans.
10. In addition to two children, Westheimer has four grandchildren. As a rule, she doesn't talk about sex with any of them.
11. Despite the wishes of her granddaughter, Leora, Dr. Ruth doesn't call herself a feminist. What she will agree to is that she's a "non-radical feminist."
12. She also doesn't call herself a Holocaust survivor, because she never endured the pain of living in a concentration camp. "I call myself an orphan of the Holocaust," she said.
13. There's a mundane Hebrew word that means a lot to her: lada'at. It means "to know," but it also means "to have sex." In the documentary, she said: "It's wonderful because the word sex means to know each other, and it means to take the time to listen and talk to each other. By not having parents at the age of 10, I was very much aware of the importance of being touched, and being loved. So that's one of the reasons I became so interested in the issues of the family, and relationships, and then, eventually, of sexuality."
14. Education as a Jewish value was of the utmost importance to Westheimer. In the documentary, she said being forced to make big decisions early in life taught her that women need to take initiative. A major component of that included financial independence — which meant that Westheimer needed to get a job. After the war, when Dr. Ruth emigrated to Israel, she was allotted reparations in order to afford school. So she flew to France, got her degrees focusing on marriage and family planning, schlepped to the United States, and worked at Planned Parenthood. It was there she realized she needed to learn more about human sexuality so she could answer people's questions.
15. Sexually Speaking, her first radio show, debuted in 1981 and catalyzed the sex therapist's tremendous career. The show was more successful than expected — she initially hosted it as a volunteer from Cornell Medical Center, but it was shortly renamed the Dr. Ruth Show. Mostly all of her following shows — Ask Dr. Ruth, The All New Dr. Ruth Show, to name a few — included her name in the title.
Ask Dr. Ruth - Official Trailer and being shown at the Jerusalem film festival on July 28, and 29
Ask Dr. Ruth chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America's most famous sex therapist. With her diminutive frame, thick German accent, and uninhibited approach to sex therapy and education, Dr. Ruth transformed the conversation around sexuality. As she approaches her 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, Dr. Ruth revisits her painful past and unlikely path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution.
Rafi Peretz Undergoes Snap 'Conversion Therapy,' Reverses Earlier Position By David Israel
Minister Peretz wrote to the school principals in Tel Aviv (possibly because Israel's first Hebrew City is estimated to be 25% homosexual): "I know that conversion treatments are wrong and severe, this is my unequivocal position. I understand that this is an invasive treatment that is not compatible with the human psyche, causes patients more suffering than relief, and even causes patient suicide that could be prevented."
"Nevertheless, it is the right of individuals with a homosexual tendency to seek an attentive ear and help with professionals, in a respectful and loving way, and that is what I meant in the interview."
People in Peretz's circle suggested that after the storm that erupted following his remarks, the new leader of Habayit Hayehudi decided to dig deeper and understood what these treatments entail. According to them, when asked in the television interview Saturday night whether conversion treatments are acceptable, Peretz talked solely about psychological counseling or referral to social workers, and not to other things to which he was exposed only this week.
Rafi Peretz retracts comparison between intermarriage and the Holocaust
The Education minister also reaffirmed that he respects and cherishes "the entire Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora," according to a letter released by the Jewish Agency. By JERUSALEM POST STAFF July 17, 2019
Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz retracted his remarks comparing intermarriage to "a second Holocaust," in a letter sent to Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog on Tuesday.
The minister also reaffirmed that he respects and cherishes "the entire Jewish people, in Israel and in the Diaspora," according to the document released by the Jewish Agency.
"In my remarks, I described how worried I am about the future of the Jewish people, particularly in light of the increasing rate of assimilation within Diaspora Jewry, a phenomenon over which I am losing sleep," Peretz wrote. "Out of deep concern for the fate of the Jewish people, I used the word 'Holocaust,' an expression that expresses the depth of my agony about the issue but probably was not an appropriate term to use. It goes without saying that I had no intention of insulting a single person in Diaspora Jewry."
Peretz's comments during a cabinet meeting earlier in July sparked outrage and criticism across the political spectrum, in Israel and abroad.
The statement by the Jewish Agency explained that Herzog asked Peretz to clarify his words in order to prevent an unnecessary rift among the Jewish people.
However, it added that his appeal to the education minister came prior to the crisis sparked by his remarks regarding the LGBTQ community, on which the Jewish Agency is also seeking clarification.
A copy of Peretz's letter will be sent to Jewish leaders throughout the Diaspora, and especially to Jewish Federations in North America.