Dr. Ruth Shares Her Passion — for Israel

By Ethan Porter

Published January 23, 2004, issue of January 23, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

As America’s most outspoken sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer is an expert at keeping romance alive. Now, Dr. Ruth is focusing on a different kind of passion: her love for Israel.

Before she was writing books and hosting talk shows about sex, Dr. Ruth served in the Haganah, fighting valiantly in Israel’s War of Independence. More than five decades later, her love for the Jewish state has not waned.

In order to best express her feelings, Dr. Ruth is primed to lead a new campaign, “Love is Real,” sponsored by Hillel, the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. The aim of the campaign is to change the tone of discussions regarding Israel on college campuses. In contrast to the inflamed rhetoric that frequently dominates such debates in the hallways of academia, “Love is Real” intends to sound a more positive note.

“What you are embarking upon … is really to speak about commitment,” Dr. Ruth told an audience attending a sneak preview of the campaign earlier this month. As she sees it, the Jewish commitment to Israel is analogous to the commitment required for a healthy romantic partnership.

Dr. Ruth’s official position in the campaign is honorary chairperson. She will appear in “Love is Real” literature, and may speak on campuses that are involved when the project kicks off nationally in mid-February. Student participants will be identifiable by their T-shirts and buttons bearing the slogan “Love is Real.” If all goes according to plan, other students will inquire about the meaning of the emblem; participants then will share their personal stories about Israel and present the inquirers with buttons bearing the slogan. As more stories are told and more buttons are exchanged, a virtual web of love for Israel hopefully will emerge on campus.

“When you have a discussion with someone, whether they disagree or not, you are going to have an impact,” Dr. Ruth told the students.

Wayne Firestone, the director of Hillel’s Center for Israel Affairs and Israel on Campus Coalition, said the campaign should demonstrate to students that “in spite of all the violence and all the challenges, in spite of its need to maintain its security priorities, Israel remains a loving society, a society that cares about loving and children more than about death and killing.”

Hillel plans to distribute 15,000 buttons to more than 1,000 participants on more than 100 campuses. It is a huge endeavor but a lot will be improvised, and thus, in the words of Firestone, “more authentic.” There will be no formal Hillel-hosted programs or conferences, but students will be expected to host discussions on their own.

If Dr. Ruth is best known for advising the lovelorn on matters of sex, she’s still an Israeli at heart — and an Israeli veteran at that, as she reminded the students who attended the sneak preview. “Watch out for me,” she said. “I can still put five bullets of a stun gun into the little red circle.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • 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.