By Liz Pearl @ PK Press
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema was packed with patrons of Beit Halochem Canada – (Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel) munching on popcorn (guest gift goodies bags) and our eyes glued to the big screen. An enjoyable fundraising evening for a worthy cause close to our hearts. Kudos to the event planning Contemporary Committee of this incredible organization.
Let’s continue to support the strong connection between our local community and wounded IDF men and women as well as Israeli victims of terror and their innocent children.
PK Press is very much about sharing inspiring personal narratives, and often I am often gravitated to stories of Jewish women. Dr. Ruth Westheimer is inspiring beyond measure, best-known as media persona—sex therapist extra-ordinare. Also, she is articulate, wise, and a wonderful storyteller herself. The creatively produced documentary weaves together her personal and profession journeys.
Dr. Ruth is a noticeably short women with a bold vision, a vibrant personality, and a terrific sense of humour. She is definitely not your typical Oma/ Bubby/ Granny. And yet, there is so much of our own bubbies that we see in her; and that’s precisely why she is so endeared to us. She is the quintessential no-filter bubby talking explicitly about sex—a unique charm.
Every visit to her cluttered apartment is punctuated with, “did you have enough to eat?” The audience giggles every time.
• Dr. Ruth reminding us all that really, there is no such thing as “normal” when it comes to sex.
• The pure joy and naches she derives from her grandchildren.
• The many meaningful connections she has developed with hundreds of diverse people throughout decades of multi media talk shows etc..
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a lengthy live interview with Dr. Ruth, here in Toronto; subsequently, I was somewhat reluctant to view the documentary. It did not disappoint. Her personal history is compelling and her colourful narrative is told with authenticity, attention to detail and lots of laughter–all with her distinctly deep German accent.
Dr. Ruth reminds us, “Yekes (German Jews) never cry in public”. And indeed she maintains her tough exterior despite her painful past.
Her life story begins in Frankfurt; as a young Jewish girl, she is sent to Switzerland by Kinder Transport; following the war, she sails to Palestine; several years later, she’s off to Paris to study at The Sorbonne; ultimately, she immigrates to Manhattan and enjoys an illustrious career. She recalls with sentimentality the awesome sight of the Statue of Liberty as the ship approaches the American coast.
Definitely, I would recommend this film to anyone who has fond memories of that classic 80’s radio show: “Hello, this is Dr. Ruth”– Sexually Speaking. I think many of us enjoy the nostalgia triggered by the documentary. She was and remains a legend–a dynamic women, ahead of her time.
The retrospective documentary includes actual footage, video clips, photographs, many interviews as well as artistically recreated drawings of her earlier memories.
Happy 90th birthday Dr. Ruth!
From strength to strength.