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Written by Ophira. Ophira is a first-time Jewrotica writer. [Editor’s Note: Be advised that this piece contains references to fantasy and sexual assault that may be triggering for some readers. And don’t forget to check the handy Jewrotica Glossary for any unfamiliar terms.]
Growing up in Efrat, I had a healthy level of interaction with both men and women. For those of you unfamiliar with Efrat, we are a vibrant Orthodox and Zionist community 8,000 strong located just outside of Jerusalem. Most of Efrat’s residents are ideologically motivated to live here and Judaism guides our daily life and practice, though we are not Haredi. We identify as Dati Li’Umi – this literally means “national religious” and can be compared to Modern Orthodox in America, but our community is really a different ballpark altogether.
I attended a girls-only ulpana during high school, though I would see the guys in the community on Shabbat afternoon at B’nai Akiva – our youth group – and that was fine by me. Social interaction between the guys and girls was permitted and even encouraged on Shabbat, but remained innocent enough. There was no making out with boys, no hand holding, nothing like that – and my friends and I internalized a lot of the values that came from living in this “wholesome” and at times sheltered world.
There was little romance in my life as a teenager, but I had role models for what a healthy relationship looked like: two loving parents who sometimes seemed too mushy as they would kiss all the time… in front of me and my siblings.
My parent’s interactions normalized the idea of romantic affection between spouses, but nobody had initiated any real discussions with me about sexuality and its place in a relationship. I didn’t have any outlets to understand or embrace sexuality, and certainly didn’t receive any real sexual education in high school.