“One should know that sexual union is holy and pure” writes the 13th-century Kabbalist and biblical commentator Nachmanides in his Holy Epistle, “when it is done as it should be, at the time it should be, and with proper intent.” Indeed, Jewish tradition considers sexual intimacy to be an act of holiness well beyond the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply," as through intercourse husband and wife become partners with God in creation. Of course, contemporary views of sexuality are far different, with Freud’s century-old radical views now themselves dated. Sexuality has been largely naturalized, and its relationship to procreation and marriage weakened and transformed.
How, if at all, has Judaism’s understanding of sexuality changed in modern times and with the relatively recent advent of denominational Judaism? How does each movement understand the obligations, restrictions and opportunities of sexual expression and identity? How, if at all, have denominations shifted to be inclusive of those who engage in traditionally forbidden forms of sexual practice?
Join with Jewish Studies and members of the community as Rabbis Greg Kanter (KKBE), Adam Rosenbaum (Emanu-El), and Michael Davies (Dor Tikvah) answer these questions.
Sponsor: Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program