Sisterhood Blog

Bedtime Reading: Meditations on Sex

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share

Two new books relating to sex, sexual identity and Judaism are on their way to your bedside table.

While for the past few years books for Christians about keeping the spark alive in bed have been big sellers in Christian publishing, books focusing on the Jewish connection — Rabbi Shmuley aside — are a relatively new development. Publishers Weekly writes:

The search for new voices on sex is hardly limited to Christian publishers. Several cutting-edge books this summer and fall are for a Jewish-interest audience. First among them is The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (NYU Press, June), an anthology edited by Danya Ruttenberg, a young woman rabbi who made a splash last year with the release of her memoir, Surprised by God (Beacon, 2008). The second, Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible (NYU Press, September), is also a collection, edited by Gregg Drinkwater, Joshua Lesser and David Shneer, and includes commentaries on the weekly Torah portions Jews read in synagogue that seek insights into queer lives.

Included in the Ruttenberg anthology are essays on pornography, nonmarital sex and masturbation. The cover image is of a suggestively rumpled bed. Rabbi Ruttenberg, author of two earlier books, is speaking on a panel Thursday at the 92nd Street Y on “Jewish Women, God and the Next Generation.”

Out at the end of this month is Sharon Moalem’s “How Sex Works” (Harper). Not aimed at a specifically Jewish audience, the book is the second for Moalem, who is a doctor by virtue of a PhD in human physiology. He also wrote the New York Times best-seller “Survival of the Sickest.” Promoting that, he appeared on “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central, wearing a black yarmulke, telling Jon Stewart that women may menstruate to relieve our bodies of excess iron, which may in part have been a defense against the Bubonic Plague, which killed half of Europe’s population in the 14th century.

His new book explains the evolutionary rationale for why we (and our bodies) do what they do, sexually speaking, like the impact of watching porn on a man’s fertility.

It’s certainly makes fertile ground for reading.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Passionate Torah, Sharon Moalem, Sex, How Sex Works, Danya Ruttenburg

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.