life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More than just a cultural icon

I heard a familiar voice on the radio the other day, one I had not heard in a long time, promoting a new off-Broadway play . .

It was the 1980's, and talk radio was becoming popular. And on Sunday nights  -- late, late on Sunday nights -- there was a show.  Sexually Speaking with Dr. Ruth Westheimer.  A little old lady, a Jewish mother with a hauntingly familiar accent,  was dispensing sexual advice.  Well, of course we sniggered.  But then, we listened.  And we learned.

We heard her on the radio, we saw her on tv.  Only 4'7", she was warm, friendly, humorous, willing to poke fun at her own image.  A very recognizable personality throughout the 80's and 90's.

But it wasn't until later, when she was promoting her book on grandparenting, and I heard her being interviewed on the radio . . .I heard her talking about her grandchildren with the delight any Jewish grandmother has, and then she said something chilling:  "Hitler didn't want me to have grandchildren."

Dr.  Ruth is a Holocaust survivor. She was born in Germany, at age 10 she was sent to a Swiss orphanage in the aftermath of Kristalnacht. And she is a veteran of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, she fought in the Haganah.  Married more than once, she was a single mother when she emigrated to the United States.

From such a background came the hope and optimism, the love of humanity, that seeped into every radio broadcast.

So why was Dr. Ruth on the radio?  She's 85 years old now, long since retired.

It's to promote Becoming Dr. Ruth.

It's a play about her life.  But not about her life as a sex therapist and radio personality.  It's about what went on before . . .

I think I may to have to buy tickets . . .


Nora said...


I don't know if you know about The Liebster Award but I nominated you for it. Read more about it here:

Suzanne said...

Oh, that sounds like a must see.

And Dr. Ruth was on the radio many a Sunday night. Such a kind soul.

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