Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who turned 93 on Friday, has been a New Yorker for 60 years. She’s additionally a famend intercourse therapist, prolific creator, media character, Holocaust orphan and onetime sniper for pre-state Israel’s secret navy group, the Haganah. No surprise the story of her life has been was a brand new one-woman play, “Becoming Dr. Ruth,” starring Tovah Feldshuh and operating at Sag Harbor’s Bay Theater from June 4 to 27.
“To see myself … portrayed by Tovah in the play is a wonderful gift,” Westheimer instructed The Post. “And I think that Mark [playwright Mark St. Germain] did a wonderful job of really portraying my background, my past. He had some of my diaries. It’s especially important now, with the anti-Semitism.”
The 4-foot-7 dynamo spoke to The Post from her Washington Heights dwelling.
The Post: How has life been throughout the pandemic?
Dr. Ruth: I belong to the endangered species, so I’m very cautious. But I’ve been very busy. This semester I used to be educating my class at Teachers College at Columbia on Zoom. And I’ve been engaged on an up to date model of my 1993 e-book, “The Art of Arousal,” for October.
What retains you going?
I simply began to meditate for 5 minutes day-after-day. I by no means thought that I might sit still for meditation, nevertheless it’s been my newfound salvation for a busy life. I’m additionally on the board of Fort Tryon Park they usually simply planted tulips in my title — they’re brief and vibrant! I additionally acquired an honorary doctorate from Ben Gurion University in April, after elevating $129,000 for scholarships in psychology. Some of that may go to Druze women in Israel, a few of whom couldn’t go to high school. That makes me blissful as somebody who didn’t have a highschool diploma.
Right. You misplaced your dad and mom within the Holocaust and have been taken from Germany through kindertransport to Switzerland at age 10.
Not solely that, however I used to be a sniper within the Haganah and, on my twentieth birthday in Jerusalem, I used to be very badly wounded on each legs by a cannonball. I may have misplaced my legs, however fortunately the surgeon mounted [them] and I used to be in a position to be an excellent good skier.
How do you keep so optimistic?
The cause that I can discuss joie de vivre, a zest for all times, is as a result of my first years of life have been in an exquisite, loving household. I as soon as did a research of the kids who have been with me within the orphanage, and all of us made it — no one dedicated suicide, or fell by the wayside … It’s as a result of the primary years of their lives, like mine, have been in a loving household. And that helped them to outlive. Of course no one [else] grew to become Dr. Ruth. Only me.
My expertise of getting been an orphan makes me arise and be counted, to inform individuals to be grateful to be alive and to make one thing optimistic out of your life.
What do you consider the state of Jews in the present day?
I fear about anti-Semitism and those that deny the Holocaust. And I’m very anxious about individuals who have Holocaust fatigue. That’s one of many the explanation why I’m on the board of the Museum of Jewish Heritage [a memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust].
How did a very good Jewish lady grew to become a intercourse therapist?
For Jews intercourse was by no means a sin, however an obligation — for a husband to fulfill his spouse — interval. I spotted I didn’t know sufficient and I simply wished individuals to find out about contraception and STDs. My late husband [Manfred Westheimer, father of her two children] was very supportive of my profession. He went with me to NBC each Sunday evening for 10 years once I did my “Sexually Speaking” program. I didn’t know I might develop into so well-known, however I wished to do one thing to assist strengthen household life.
Do strangers still come as much as you and ask for intercourse recommendation?
Very typically. I’ll go together with them to a nook and reply it if I can, or recommend a psychiatrist or medical specialist. There’s no such factor as a fast repair. People have to develop into far more sexually literate. There’s still loads of issues to find out about and to find out about. That’s for my subsequent e-book.
Should 90-year-olds still have intercourse?
If they have a very good accomplice, they should have intercourse. If you don’t have a accomplice, they should fulfill themselves. Period. There is not any age restrict.