Sisterhood Blog

How To Interview a Man About His Wedding Night

By Frimet Goldberger

  • Print
  • Share Share

Like every member of the female species, I read Tuvia Tenenbaum’s interview with Racheli Ibenboim, an up-and-coming female Hasidic politician, with great excitement. This is the interview in which Ms. Ibenboim answers deeply personal questions, thereby revealing everything Tuvia ever wanted to know about Hasidic sex.

When I read his highly apologetic, I’d-be-equally-voyeuristic-when-interviewing-a-man response to all the criticism hurled at him, I was reminded of this one time I interviewed a famous male Hasidic wannabe politician under the pretense of writing a profile about him.

But before I begin, let me tell you a little bit about myself.

To start with, I was not raised in a secular world where poking and prodding strangers about their wedding nights is common practice. I’m a “progressive Jew” by default but not by education. I come from a long line of men and women who prefer not to discuss their wedding nights with strangers. I grew up alongside the most renowned gatekeepers of wedding night sex of the ultra-Orthodox world and I was groomed to become one too. But with the years I have come to the conclusion that what they have taught and preached had more to do with common decency than with Judaism. And so I left them.

Now let’s talk about the interview with Plony Almony (his real name is irrelevant).

We meet at a café on the outskirts of town. Mr. Almony, after all, is a popular man. Luckily, no rabbi knows that I’m in town and no one has forbidden Plony from meeting me. A man, as every child of God knows, never shakes hands with women, unless she is his wife and he is not on his period. So when I approach Plony, I extend my hand to see whether he is menstruating.

He is not, and I am shocked that he would reveal that so soon into our meeting. For shame!

I get right to it.

“How does this work, this sex thing? You didn’t know your wife-to-be but you married her, a woman, and you were supposed to have sex with her. What went on in your head? Were you scared?”

Plony blinks, stares at me for an uncomfortable few seconds and asks if I am demented.

I blink back and continue.

“How does something like this work in practical life? You never touched the woman and now — how does it feel?”

“How is it supposed to feel?” he asks. Whoah, he’s bold. “It feels like every first sexual encounter does. Awkward. Good. But mostly awkward.”

He pauses, smiles sheepishly, and asks if we can move on now.

“Not really,” I say. “What did you feel the day after?”

“It was tough at first, this new life. But I got used to it, eventually. Life, you know.”

“Used to it? As in, there is no excitement in your marriage? And what about love?”

“I don’t know why you want to know all these things…” He’s still smiling. I take this as a sign to patronize him.

“You’re a special man, and that’s why I don’t let go of this topic.”

“Special man?” he asks. “This is the first time anyone has ever called me that. Thank you so much!”

“Plony,” I blurt out. “You’re a rebel!”

And with that, we wrap up our interview.

To be sure, we also talked about his community in the greatest of details and about an organization he’s involved in. But that’s completely irrelevant to his profile so this isn’t included here.

Please, don’t rush to “protect” Plony, as if he were a fragile thing in dire need of some secular Jew’s protection. Just don’t. Remember that the rabbis of the Talmud had opinions about penis size, and therefore it is okay to question a soon-to-be-famous man about his wedding night.

Chill out, folks. There are only Ten Commandments in the Bible, and none of them is Thou Shalt Not Be Curious, Thou Shalt Abstain from Inappropriate Voyeurism, and Thou Shalt Not Be an Unapologetic Obnoxious Journalist.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish, Racheli Ibenboim, Tuvia Tenenbom

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!
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • 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
  • 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.