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Dr Ruth, sexologist extraordinaire comes to Joburg

The old and somewhat worn-out cliché, “dynamite comes in small packages”, is about to be revived not only with bells and whistles but with loud drumbeats as well.
by BEV GOLDMAN | Jun 11, 2014

Ruth Westheimer, better known to her hundreds of thousands of adoring fans across the world as Dr Ruth, will be in South Africa later this month as the guest of the South African Zionist Federation to hold local audiences spellbound with her wit, her outrageous comments, her belly-splitting humour and her delightful and engaging personality – all this encapsulated in a tiny frame no taller than 4 ft 10 ins and no younger than 86, and discussing sex from the serious to the sensuous, from the formal to the frivolous.

Dr Ruth made her name with her 1980 New York radio 15-minute taped programme, Sexually Speaking, during which her pioneered programme on sexual matters, brought the subject out in the open, in the public domain, across the US.  It developed into a live one-hour show during which Dr Ruth answered callers’ questions: and the rest is history.

But what is the rest? It’s television, books, newspapers, games, home video, computer software and her own website, www.drruth.com and Tweets as @AskDrRuth and more.  It’s frequent lectures at universities across the US,  resulting in her having  twice been named "College Lecturer of the Year".  It’s reaching out to the younger set teaching puppets how to read long words on the PBS series, "Between The Loins".

Dr RuthIt’s having been executive producer for a documentary on Ethiopian Jews titled "Surviving Salvation” and aired nationally on PBS, and for her second documentary, also aired nationally and entitled  “No Missing Link”, about how grandparents have transmitted values, particularly religious values during the 70 years of communism in Russia.

RIGHT: Dr Ruth.

It’s her earlier production of “The Olive and The Tree: The Secret Strength of the Druze”, accompanied by a book of the same name; and her latest documentary, “Shifting Sands: Bedouin Women at the Crossroads”, also with an accompanying book. It’s her latest venture – a documentary on the Circassians; and her current positions of adjunct  professor at NYU, associate Fellow of Calhoun College at Yale University, and a Fellow of Butler College at Princeton University.

It’s the 35 books (and counting) that she has authored; the calendars she produced and the board-game she invented.  It’s the Ace Award won for her show, "The All New Dr. Ruth Show", for excellence in cable television; it’s the honorary doctorate she won  from Hebrew Union College - Institute of Religion, for her work in human sexuality and her commitment to the Jewish people, Israel and religion; it’s the Yale Mental Health Research Advocacy Award given her at the 2012 annual National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) research advocacy symposium.

It’s all this and much more, almost unbelievably emanating from this tiny feisty woman who is an inspiration to everyone, irrespective of gender, race or age.  She lives and loves life; she resides in New York, the most exciting city in the world; and she has two children and four grandchildren.  She is a unique human being.

She will be guest speaker at an SA Zionist Federation brunch on June 22  2014; and bookings can be done through lisa@beyachad.co.za or at (011)  645-2510. 

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DR RUTH fullTo miss her would mean a lifetime of regret.

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