That is So Not Frum

It makes me insane when people say, “Hey, I know this Orthodox person who does X, so it must be okay.”

Um, no. Also, just because someone identifies as Orthodox doesn’t mean they he or she is actually observing anything in particular at the moment or that they represent other Orthodox people or really anything at all. Case in point: The NY Times had an article over the weekend called The Pleasure Principal about a place in San Francisco called One Taste that practices a lifestyle focused on the female orgasm.   g_racheli_cherwitz_SM.jpg
Here’s how the Times delicately describes One Taste:

A core of 38 men and women — their average age the late 20s — live full time in the retreat center, a shabby-chic loft building in the South of Market district. They prepare meals together, practice yoga and mindfulness meditation and lead workshops in communication for outside groups as large as 60.

But the heart of the group’s activity, listed cryptically on its Web site’s calendar as “morning practice,†is closed to all but the residents.

At 7 a.m. each day, as the rest of America is eating Cheerios or trying to face gridlock without hyperventilating, about a dozen women, naked from the waist down, lie with eyes closed in a velvet-curtained room, while clothed men huddle over them, stroking them in a ritual known as orgasmic meditation — “OMing,†for short. The couples, who may or may not be romantically involved, call one another “research partners.â€

A commune dedicated to men and women publicly creating “the orgasm that exists between them,†in the words of one resident, may sound like the ultimate California satire. But the Bay Area has a lively and venerable history of seekers constructing lives around sexual adventure.

I’m not going to make a judgment call on whether what these people are doing is good or bad. It sounds kind of creepy to me, but whatever. However, there is no doubt that what they’re doing is intrinsically not Jewish. I recommend our Sex and Sexuality section for further reading, but let me just make it clear, One Taste is not a place with any underlying Judaic principles. Nuh-uh. But wait! Look what the Times has to say later on:

Another member, Racheli Cherwitz, 28, had spent years grappling with anorexia and alcoholism, she said. In search of identity, she moved to Israel and became an Orthodox Jew.

Discovering One Taste, she said, has improved her self-image and given her “deep physical access to the woman I am and the woman I want to be.â€

Ms. Cherwitz commutes to New York and offers private sensuality coaching at a satellite outpost operated by One Taste on Grand Street. Many of her clients, she said, are married Orthodox Jewish couples from Brooklyn.

Did you read this and get out of it that Cherwitz is Orthodox? She’s not. Not by a long shot, my friends. Whether or not she counsels Orthodox Jewish couples in Brooklyn I don’t know, but Cherwitz openly admits that she left Orthodoxy and you need only do a perfunctory google search to find out what Cherwitz is all about, which is to say, open sex, which is not Orthodox.

Just saying.

Discover More

Inter-racial Intermarriage: What’s Taboo and What’s Not

There’s a fascinating back-and-forth over at The Atlantic between Jeffrey Goldberg and Ta-Nehisi about exoticism and intermarriage in the black ...

Is Separate Seating Offensive?

An English MP named Jim Fitzpatrick was invited to a constituent’s wedding last night, and he and his wife attended, ...

Jews and the Vatican: What Prayers to Pray?

Inbal Freund-Novick is an organizational consultant and co-founder of The Unmasked Comics Project, a social change comics venture with comics ...