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Johannesburg simply loved Dr Ruth

“A bundle of energy”, “A remarkable zest for life”, “Alluring and thoroughly enjoyable”, and “Wow, did I learn a lot today!” Those were just some of the comments made by guests of the South African Zionist Federation after the brunch held for Dr Ruth on Sunday at the HOD Centre.
by BEV GOLDMAN | Jun 24, 2014

Internationally renowned diminutive sexologist/sex therapist Dr Ruth Westheimer was lauded, applauded, acclaimed and adored by a captivated, bursting-at-the-seams audience of women and men of all ages, who listened eagerly to this feisty 86-year old (she’d celebrated her birthday earlier in June) talking about sex, relationships, a touch of religion and being a sniper in the IDF in the 1948 War of Independence.

She enchanted the crowd with her fascinating stories of the troubled clients to whom she had ministered over the years, the world figures with whom she had rubbed shoulders and traded bits of advice, her marriages (all three of them) and her grandchildren (four, and all of them the apples of her eye), and her exploits when, as a teenager in the Israeli army, she missed being blown up by a hair’s breadth when the home in which she was living at the time was bombed by enemy fire. 

Dr Ruth in SA tallShe spoke poignantly but briefly of her early years as a cherished only child before the tragedy of the “Night of Broken Glass”; how she became one of the kindertransport children; and how she never saw her father again after he was taken away by the Germans.

Pictured right are a very tall-looking Howard Sackstein with SAZF national director Isla Feldman and the diminutive Dr Ruth



Author of numerous books and journal articles, holder of a number of academic degrees, Dr Ruth broke the silence on sex with her first broadcast show in the USA decades ago, and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then she has appeared on countless radio and television shows extolling the beauty and wonder of sex; and encouraging couples to cement their relationships in the most natural and acceptable physical manner. 

She stressed the respect she has for all people, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and emphasized that she would never pass judgement on how people choose to live their sexual lives. She spoke of the mitzvah of Shabbat sex and its importance; and she was frank and unambiguous in her comments on menopause, pre-marital sex, adultery, teenage sexual encounters, and the need to pleasure oneself if one does not have a partner.

In his introduction, Howard Sackstein paid tribute to her charm and unique ability to make everyone she met feel important and special, something which came through strongly as she spoke.

It was a perfectly delightful morning. Prior to the talk, guests enjoyed a delicious and lavish brunch while watching the slide-show of her life and times. Afterwards, they shared personal experiences (how do I know?  Because some them spoke rather loudly….) and ideas, and went home with an injunction from her to pretend that it was Friday night and not Sunday.  She also urged the audience to communicate with her on Monday morning, the morning after the night before. What an enchanting character she is! 

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