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Dr. Ruth

Dr Ruth: With My Accent I never thought I'd be talking about Sex all My life.

by Rhonda Spivak July 18, 2012

With my accent, I never thought I'd be talking about sex all my life," said Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) who spoke at the opening plenary of President Shimon Peres's conference in Jerusalem last month.
Dr. Ruth, the well known sex therapist, who was born Karola Ruth Seigar in Germany, said that when she came to the United States, "they told me to take speech lessons to get rid of my accent." Now however, there’s an actress to star in an upcoming play about Dr. Ruth and “she has a speech coach to make her learn my accent."
The bubbly, youthful and petite Dr. Ruth who is 4 ft 7 inches  told the crowd, “I'm 84 (years old) and I'm not shrinking." The sexologist opened the  Peres President'sconference in a one-on-one, center-stage discussion with Israeli technology investor and entrepreneur Yossi Vardi.
Born in Frankfurt, Dr. Ruth reminded her audience that "I was in the Haganah. I was a sniper. I know how to throw hand grenades.  I can sleep with five bullets."
Westheimer was the only child of orthodox Jews she was sent to Switzerland in 1939 by her mother and grandmother after her father was taken by the Nazis.  In 1945, Westheimer learned that her parents had been murdered in the Holocaust. She decided to emigrate to British Mandatory Palestine, where she joined the Haganah in Jerusalem. Because of her short stature she was trained as a scout and sniper, and was seriously wounded in action by an exploding shell during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, and it was several months before she was able to walk again.
Despite the injury, Dr Ruth says, "I can dance a whole night when I find a good partner."
In Palestine at age 17, she first had sexual intercourse on a starry night, in a haystack without contraception. She later told The New York Times that "I am not happy about that, but I know much better now and so does everyone who listens to my radio program."  The New York Times described her as a "Sorbonne-trained psychologist who became a kind of cultural icon in the 1980s. She ushered in the new age of freer, franker talk about sex on radio and television-and was endlessly parodied for her limitless enthusiasm and for having an accent only a psychologist could have."
Dr. Ruth, who says she is "not computer literate" noted that she uses an I Phone, "although I don't know how to retrieve messages." Her inability to retrieve messages certainly doesn't stop her from talking on the phone, she joked. Dr. Ruth was proud to say that she has a twitter account and has over 56,000 likes.
To those who meet people over the internet, Dr. Ruth cautions against "making a date in a secluded place with someone you don't really know."
Dr. Ruth stressed that couples these days need to make time together away from computers, face book, I pads and other technological gadgets. “For people who have e a lot of stress Dr. Ruth advises that "it's best to take a bit of wine (“not too much") and then relax and "enjoy the joys of having found a person to have a relationship with. Close the computer, and go to the show."
She spoke of the technological advances in today's world as having potential benefits for "people who are alone, widowers", who need to be taught "how to use this new social media to give them the ability to form now relationships."
Westheimer also spoke of the secret to staying youthful. She spoke of having a “positive outlook" and said that she has the ability of telling herself "Let me do something new every day."
 "I don't associate with people who say 'I'm tired'. I say go home and rest and I will find someone new."
Dr Ruth then took questions from the audience, and to encourage questions she announced that if you were the first person to ask a question "you will have good sex for the rest of your life."
She also encouraged audience members not to be shy about asking her a question. The audience chuckled as she said "You can always say 'a friend of mine has a question.'
One audience member told Dr Ruth of a women he know who was 104 years old and has "stayed sexually active until 94" and then after 94 she took up yoga. "But she said that yoga wasn't as good."
Dr Ruth responded by offering the women a mazel tov on her success for staying sexually active until 94.
The audience again laughed when Yossi Vardi, who was interviewing Dr Ruth, responded that maybe after age 94 the woman should "try yoghurt not only yoga."
In an interview following her speech, Dr. Ruth told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that she has attended the Passover Seder of former Winnipegger Hershel Kagan and Jerry Ritt, who live in Ottawa. (as for the four questions asked at the Seder, Dr Ruth says "We stick to the script.")



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.