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Written by Dr. Philip Belove, and co-written by Marilyn Bronstein. Philip, a first-time Jewrotica writer, is an author, public speaker, workshop leader and psychologist. Philip received his M.A. from the Alfred Adler Institute of Chicago, and his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Philip’s fascination is with how relationships work. He has taught swing, tango and communication and is a consulting psychologist with GBLA, a management consulting firm.
“Belov” is a common Russian name, like “Orlov” and “Chekov,” and in Russian, it means “white.” When the family arrived in America, the name was changed to “Belove,” and thereby gained all those powerful connotations. Some people think the name on the website, Dr Belove, is a marketing ploy. It’s not but maybe there’s destiny in it.
Our Response to the Jewrotica.org Contest about “Hot” Rabbi Couples:
We told friends we were submitting an article to “Jewrotica.org” in response to their “Hottest Rabbi Couple” contest. They said, “You’re kidding.” We heard those very same words a year ago when we told them the title of our book.
Our book, “Rabbis in Love” is a book of conversations with rabbi couples who are very much in love. The picture above is a picture of Rabbi Ronnie Cahana and his wife of 35 years, Karen, taken by their daughter, Kitra, in the hospital as Ronnie recovered from his stroke. They are the first couple in the book, the one who inspired us to do the book.
Reb Leibish and Deena Hundert, another couple in the book, gave us a story from about sexual curiosity that comes from the Talmud. (Surprise!) A Rabbinic student hides under his teacher’s bed to observe how his teacher makes love to his wife. The punch line comes after he gets caught. He explains, “This, too, is Torah I need to learn.” The point of the Talmud story is that earthly love and spirituality embrace each other. Being romantic and passionate is a high calling for Jews. Doing the book, for us, was a modern version of hiding under the bed.
We interviewed ten couples and included nine in the book. One couple felt they had revealed too much and they backed out. These conversations are about what really happens between the partners when they are alone. It’s about how they figure out how to love each other across time.
It’s hard to say who is the hottest, but clearly one of the leading contenders is Ohad and Dawn Cherie Ezrahi. Much of their teaching is about the freedom a woman should have to claim her full power, both sexually and otherwise. Ohad said, “It’s one thing to learn from the words of a long-dead rabbi and a very different thing to learn from a living and powerful woman right in front of you.” They were perhaps the most explicit about their sexual practices.
But the erotic charge was everywhere. In the conversation with Reb Haim Sherrf and his wife, Caroline, they still remember that electric first moment they saw each other. They remember courtship and sitting in the car outside her house and “talking.” She said, “I’d never let my daughter do that.” Caroline also spoke about the importance of female power in their relationship. “I teach women that they have to make demands on their husband in order to show them how to love.” She also spoke of those times late at night, just the two of them in bed, the whole house asleep, talking and being together. She said, “How wonderful when he makes you feel good down there.”
And then there is Rabbi Ronnie Cahana and Karen, long married, still discovering new layers of beauty in each other. We asked them, “What can you know about someone after 35 years that you didn’t know at 25 years” and he said, “Everything. It’s all new.”
The longest together couple in the book was Victor and Nadya Gross. When Nadya became a Rabbi at midlife, Zalman Schacter-Shalomi ordained them both as Neshama Achat. One Soul. Victor told a story about how, when he was first courting her, he was backstage speaking to Reb Shlomo Carlebach and he apologized because he had to leave to go call Nadya. Reb Shlomo said that if he had to choose between talking to him and talking to a woman, he’d go talk to the woman.
Even with the most Orthodox couples, there was steady heat. When we spoke to Leibish and Deena, Deena said, “When we were under the wedding canopy and he touched my hand and it was the first time ever and I remember feeling like a million dollars.” They observe Niddah. No touching for twelve days each menstrual cycle. Then, it’s Mikvah time. First they have a conversation, what they’ve called “an emotional Mikvah,” to clear an emotional baggage between them. Then she goes to the ritual bath, comes home, puts on the outfit she wore on her wedding night (sometimes) and then, as she says, “It’s because of this going away a distance, and coming back, and distance, and coming back, it’s constantly exciting.”
Hot enough for you? Nothing is more erotic than earthly love in the context of a passionate spiritual relationship. All this and much, more. Check it out at www.Rabbis-in-Love.com