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!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • 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.