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Written by Andrea Peyser on January 21, 2014 [New York Post]
They have the stellar IQs of Mensa members. They’re also compassionate, kind — and smoking hot.
They’re rabbis, people whom most of us think of as men with graying side curls, not guys and gals with washboard abs.
After more than 5,000 years of Jewish existence, creators of the cheeky Jewrotica.org Web site thought it was time to honor Jewish leaders not just for their wisdom, but for a quality that the Jerusalem-based site’s co-creator David Abitbol calls “badassery.”
But should rabbis be judged, like Miss America pageant contestants, not just for the ability to inspire worshippers, but for making them perspire?
Here, in no particular order, is Jewrotica’s first-ever list of the 10 Sexiest Rabbis of 2013, who fed Jewish brains while keeping us warm.
To quote Jewrotica, “What could be sexier than a brilliant young rabbi who breathes life in his community?” Orthodox Rabbi Josh Yuter (far right) of the Stanton Street Shul on the Lower East Side uses Twitter and Facebook to connect with worshippers. That’s sexy?
“When the titles of Most Knowledgeable and Most Respected are filled, you take what you can get,” he told me. At 36, the rabbi isn’t dating any woman seriously. “Maybe I should work on it.”
Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, 33, founded the Mishkan Chicago spiritual community, and mixes prayer with running and a five- to six-day-a-week workout regimen.
“The shock for some people is seeing their rabbi as sexy,” said the Conservative rabbi, who hopes to “fulfill the Jewish mandate” of becoming a wife and mother. (Hint: Her guy should be Jewish.)
Jewrotica describes Reconstructionist Rabbi David Bauer, 54 (near right), as “hot and sexy, diving in that Torah with a queer eye.” He’s director of social-justice programming at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Greenwich Village, which caters to Jews who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. He has a partner.
Rabbi Dan Shevitz, 63, doesn’t know who nominated him as a sexy rabbi. “It could be one of my ex-wives.” He has two.
The Conservative rabbi’s Congregation Mishkon Tephila in Venice, Calif., is a block from the beach. “We take what we do seriously. We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” he told me. Still, Rabbi Shevitz hopes being on the list will improve his romantic prospects. “Do you know anybody?”
Orthodox Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, 44, who founded Pico Shul in Los Angeles, could teach us all about keeping a marriage sizzling. He was nominated as a sexy rabbi by his wife of 18 years, Rachel, the mother of his four children.
“It’s a very sweet episode in a long and exciting marriage,” he told me. Now that’s sexy.
Fiery Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman, older sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, is 50 and raising five children, two of them adopted, in Jerusalem with her rabbi husband. She was arrested last year with her teenage niece at the Wailing Wall holy site as part of a protest by the feminist group Women of the Wall. For violating an Israeli court ruling that prohibits females from wearing traditional prayer shawls and praying too loudly at the wall, the pair were booked, fingerprinted, had their mug shots taken and were banned from the site for 15 days.
Ordained in the Conservative movement, Rabbi Jill Hammer, 44, co-founded Kohenet, the Connecticut-based Hebrew Priestess Institute — part of a “movement of earth-based Jews who honor the sacred feminine and the natural world,” its Web site proclaims. We didn’t learn about that stuff in my Hebrew school.
She’s married to musician Shoshana Jedwab, Rabbi Hammer lives in Manhattan and has a 5-year-old daughter.
Egalitarian Rabbi Yonatan Gordis, 49, is a fan of the Grateful Dead. The rabbi, who helped found the Elul house of worship in Jerusalem, lives in Canada with his wife and two daughters.
Conservative Rabbi Benay Lappe, 53, founded Svara, a radical Chicago school for gay and lesbian Jews. She leads a class in S&M, which stands for Svara and Midrash (a place of worship), not sadomasochism. Or does it?
“We’re, obviously, playing with the term here,” Lappe told me. The class explores “Sex and Illicit Desire When Life is at Stake,’’ according to Svara’s Web site. Rabbi Lappe hasn’t got a partner.
Jewrotica describes Rabbi Aviad Bodner as “6 foot tall and broad shouldered” with “a warm smile that makes you feel like (and want to be) the only person in the room.” He presides over Tel Aviv’s Moishe House, famous for the grilled eggplant he cooks for Sabbath dinners. He’s single. He’s straight. He’s Orthodox. He’s 28.
Get ready for more. The sexy-rabbi list is to be an annual feature.