US: Website hunts 'sexy' rabbis

A rabbi in silhouette

A website put out a call to find the world's "sexiest" rabbis.

But within days it changed the title to "hottest" after "widespread misunderstanding of the nomination criteria", according to the Times of Israel. It quotes Ayo Oppenheimer, editor of the Jewrotica "online hub for Jewish sexual expression", as saying: "We just put 'sexy' in the title, because that's the vocabulary we use... We're being edgy, fun and youthful - not disrespectful." Apparently, the site is seeking rabbis with "smarts" or "bad ass factor", by which it means interests such as playing jazz or riding a motorbike.

Those interviewed by the Times of Israel seem unconvinced, with Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, of San Francisco, saying of the "sexy" label: "Most rabbis don't see themselves this way. And when they do, it leads to some serious problems." However, Hebrew Union College rabbinical student Aaron Sataloff says: "Eye-catching factors reel people in. A rabbi is no longer a hunched over figure with a long beard." For Rafi Samuels-Schwartz, however, who recalls a story from the Talmud of rabbis comparing the size of their genitalia in the US Jewish Daily Forward, says the list is "unsexy" and "impotent" by comparison.

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