It appears that “America’s Rabbi” – also known as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, has a new adventure up his sleeve. It was recently reported that the controversial Orthodox rabbi will be speaking in Tel Aviv on Thursday night on the 20th anniversary edition of his irreverent book, “Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy.” Boteach’s address will allegedly focus on the “international phenomenon” that it has become. When it was first released, the subject matter of the book caused eyebrows to be raised in the Orthodox Jewish world as immodest subjects such as sexual relations are never discussed publicly.
Edited by: JV Staff
Boteach announced that his address will be held in the first ever kosher sex shop in Tel Aviv that just so happens to be owned by his daughter Chana. When her father’s book was published in 1999, the idea of creating a kosher sex shop in Tel Aviv was on no one’s radar.
According to a Haaretz report, Boteach’s book sold 65,000 copies in a week and developed into a full-blown enterprise. Last year, the father and daughter collaborated on a website with access to courses, articles and a podcast by Rabbi Shmuley himself. He also recently co-authored a book with a particularly strange bedfellow, “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson.
Boteach has been a magnet for controversy throughout his career. According to a Wikipedia report, Boteach opened a dialogue with Christians, and specifically with Messianic Jews, who are considered to be apostates by most Jews. In 2008, he debated Douglas Jacoby and Shabir Ally, on The True Legacy of Abraham, and the next year he debated Douglas Jacoby on Judaism & Christianity: Which is the Religion of Peace?
In 2008 he debated with Michael Brown, a leader of the Messianic Jews, on whether belief in Jesus is compatible with Judaism, and in his book Kosher Jesus he depicts Jesus as “a Jewish patriot murdered by Rome for his struggle on behalf of his people…”
These positions have drawn opposition from many in the orthodox establishment, particularly from within the Chabad sect to which Boteach belongs. Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, a leading British rabbi and a rival of Boteach’s called Boteach’s attempts to reach out to Messianic Jews “self-delusional”, and Rabbi Immanuel Schochet of Toronto, Yitzchak Schochet’s father, banned the book to Orthodox Jewish readers. “It is forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book,” he said in an interview.
Boteach is also known for his flamboyance and self-promotion. In a comment he later described as only having been sarcastic, he was reported as saying “God gave 10 commandments at Sinai, and the 11th commandment, which they expunged but which has come down orally, is ‘Thou shalt do anything for publicity and recognition.'”
Speaking to Haaretz, Chana Boteach, 28, said, “‘Kosher Sex’ is really about recapturing sex and reclaiming it as what it was supposed to be initially, which is to create intimacy between two people,” With the new store and her father’s teachings, she hopes to help people rediscover their sensuality according to the tenets of Judaism.