Talking About Intimacy and Sexuality: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents

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9781602802209: Talking About Intimacy and Sexuality: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents

This book helps parents meet the challenge and engage in a scientifically factual, accurate, honest and helpful conversation about intimacy and sexuality. It is rooted in the belief that we foster a commitment by engaging our children in thoughtful dialogue, sharing with them our values on these topics. Although written from an Orthodox perspective, there is much in the volume that is relevant for all parents. Anyone interested in imparting values and knowledge regarding intimacy and sexuality will find much useful information as well as many thought provoking suggestions for educating their children in these areas.

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About the Author:

Dr. Yocheved Debow holds a doctorate from Bar Ilan University s School of Education. Her research focuses on sexuality and intimacy education in the Modern Orthodox community for which she received both the President s Award and a Schupf Fellowship. Together with her colleague, Dr. Anna Woloski-Wruble and with the support of Yeshiva University s Center for the Jewish Future, she has published the first volume of a two-volume comprehensive sexuality education curriculum for Jewish school, Life Values and Intimacy Education: Health Education for the Jewish School (grades 3-8). Dr. Debow holds an MA in child clinical and school psychology and a BA in psychology and education, both from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Review:

Dr. Debow s book is a pioneering work on an extremely important topic that has been neglected in the Orthodox Jewish world. The instant availability of endless sources of information about sexuality from every possible viewpoint has made it imperative that Orthodox Jewish parents talk to their children explaining human sexuality and intimacy from a Torah perspective. The very concept of this book is a major contribution. Parents have been steadily giving over traditional roles, consciously to schools but often actually to the street. The increase of families with both parents working is a contributing factor. Children are not confiding in their parents, especially when a problem arises. This book will give parents the tools to reconnect with their children. It covers a broad range of topics and honestly confronts problematic areas. Each chapter deals with a different aspect and includes a sample conversation that gives the parent an approach to starting a discussion with his or her child. Often more than one approach will be mentioned to insure that the issues are dealt with in an age-appropriate manner. Difficult situations are confronted directly and extensively. There are chapters on eating disorders, masturbation, abuse, and homosexuality. Guidance is given for responding to a sexually active child.

Clearly these areas require halakhic knowledge as well as professional training and experience. Dr. Debow makes reference, either in the text or in a footnote, to the rabbinic authorities she has consulted. Inevitably one will be aware of other authorities, who differ on one point or another, but this does not lessen the value of her book. It is the first work I have seen that will help a parent discuss intimacy or human sexuality from a Torah perspective.

A child s issues impact on the entire family. Proper use of this book will create a healthier atmosphere leading to greater trust in parents. Many problems fester because children face them alone without support. Even when a professional is needed the initiative often has to come from a parent. The information and techniques described in this book are an important aid for a parent who wants to have open discussions with his or children about sexuality or intimacy.

Dr. Debow focuses on the modern Orthodox parent whose children are exposed to the Internet and Western culture. It assumes some interaction between boys and girls. It would be easy for those in a more insular Haredi world to dismiss this book as irrelevant. My sense is they will benefit from her insights as well. The assumption that it is not tzanua to discuss these topics almost guarantees that one s children will pick up erroneous information from those whose notions of sexuality run counter to all our values.

It is apparent that this work is the product of a great deal of research as well as professional experience. No topic is too delicate or controversial to be tackled. Yet it is written with sensitivity and refinement. This is not a book to be read in one sitting and then put on a shelf. It is reader-friendly with a summary at the end of each chapter.

The world we live in is complex and confusing. It is not an easy time for one who is an adolescent. Removed parents do not provide support. Talking about Intimacy and Sexuality is a wonderful tool aiding parents to engage their children in meaningful conversations about significant aspects of their lives and giving them guidance. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Debow for a wonderful book which will hopefully lead to a paradigm change in parent-children relationships in the Orthodox community. --~ Rabbi Yosef Blau, Mashgiach Ruchani, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, New York, NY

They're going to learn it from somewhere, and it may not be what you want them to hear. Talking About Intimacy & Sexuality: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents is a parenting guide aiming on the discussing approaching the topic through the perspective of traditional Jewish faith. Encouraging a sensible approach to the topic that parents of any faith usually seek to stray away from, Dr. Yocheved Debow offers much to ponder on reaching on to your kinds. Talking About Intimacy & Sexuality is a must for Judaic studies and parenting collections. --~ The Midwest Book Review

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