And also, Jewess blog has an interview with Ellen Sussman who is the author of the novel On a Night Like This and the upcoming Dirty Words: The Unabridged Encyclopedia of Sex, which will be published by Bloomsbury in late 2008 and more recently, the editor of the new book Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, a collection of essays about the many ways in which women can be bad or can be considered bad by others.
Well, move over ladies, meet England's Reva as we read in The London Times:-
Once upon a time, she was the life and soul of the party – free and easy, up for anything. Some of her friends miss this old Reva, she says. Then she swung to the other extreme, the equivalent perhaps of running off to a convent, immersing herself in the highly regulated life of an ultra-orthodox Jewish wife. She lived in a religious enclave in Jerusalem, where married women wear wigs so nobody but their husbands can see their hair, and dress in long sleeves, high necklines and black tights, even in the heat of an Israeli summer. Where couples have sex at prescribed times of the month, and sleep in separate beds the rest of the time.
Then, feeling stifled, she threw off her sheitel and fled the house in tight jeans in search of hot, adulterous sex. Not long ago she might have been stoned for this. Finally, she says, she has found a better way, somewhere in between her two, radically different, former selves – “the sinful and the sacred, the religious and the profane”.
As she describes her zigzagging path between rampant drug-fuelled sex and intense religious devotion, she gives a fascinating insight into the usually cloistered world of ultra-orthodox Judaism. Some of the rules, taken to the nth degree, seem pedantic: the debate over whether or not you should tear toilet paper off the roll on the Sabbath, for example (you’re creating two halves on what’s supposed to be a day of rest). Or having to let a rabbi inspect her underwear to decide whether or not her discharge was clear enough that she could be pronounced “clean”.
But it would be wrong to imagine Reva has turned her back on her religion. “I’m passionately Jewish. I love Torah [the code of Jewish law].” She adores her faith, talks about it movingly as if it too were a lover. Some of the rituals she describes, such as taking a mikveh, or purifying bath, to be ready for sex with her husband after menstruating, are strangely beautiful. “When you’ve got your period, your body is in a state of not being able to create,” she explains. “That makes you impure, although it’s a terrible translation – the Hebrew word doesn’t have a negative connotation. So we separate. Then we purify ourselves in the mikveh, which is like a rebirth. You come out in a state where you can conceive, in your ultimate feminine state.” In “impurity” they don’t touch at all. It sounds drastic, but it works for hundreds of thousands of couples, she says. When they come together again it’s a real event.
Her book, The Rabbi’s Daughter: A True Story of Sex, Drugs and Orthodoxy, by Reva Mann, is to be published by Hodder & Stoughton on August 16, at £12.99.
Who is she?
it’s who she is – the granddaughter of a chief rabbi of Israel, daughter of a renowned London rabbi. Streets in Jewish communities around the world are named after her family.
She has shaved five letters off her surname to become Reva Mann, but she is instantly recognisable in the small, gossipy world of Anglo-Jewry.
Well, I'm going to ask so by tomorrow, hopefully I'll know.
Well, I should have waited five more minutes.
Here's the book cover
And here's her YouTube promo:
Well, by process of elimination, I've come up with:-
Isser Yehuda Unterman, Israel's second Ashkenazi Chief Rabbil, was born in 1886 in Brest-Litovsk (Brisk), where his father was a teacher. Among Unterman's ancestors were Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (1579-1654), author of the Mishnah commentary, Tosefot Yom Tov, and Rabbi Shaul Wahl Katzenellenbogen (1540-1616), about whom the legend says that he was elected King of Poland for one day.
After his marriage, Unterman continued his studies at the Kollel of the Volozhin Yeshiva, where he was ordained. At the age of 24, he opened and headed a Yeshiva in the neighbouring town of Vishova, Lithuania, which was so successful that the Hafetz Chaim sent one of his nephews to study there.
In 1924, Unterman was chosen to be Rabbi of Liverpool. In 1946, Unterman was elected Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv-Yafo...In 1964, Rabbi Unterman was appointed Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel.
The Liverpool connection would suggest a son who lived there, maybe.
And here we are
Reva Unterman, originally from London now lives in Israel. Both her father and grandfather were internationally respected orthodox rabbis. She is currently working on a novel set against a backdrop of Halachic and Midrashic sources.
At the Jewish Advocate, she wrote:
I have nothing against gays, but Jerusalem is the Holy City and we don’t need to exacerbate the friction between religious and secular by exhibiting publicly what can stay well-hidden between the bed sheets.
Well, if the book reflects her life's reality, none of her sheets seem to have been well-hidden.