Just Above Sunset
September 18, 2005 - Sea, Sex and Torah

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Sylvain Ubersfeld

Tel-Aviv - September 17, 2005


The "official and biblical" rule applicable for Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening) is to combine the study of the Torah (Jewish religious scriptures) with some pleasant activities, but since am not considered by the rabbis as being one hundred percent Kosher, I follow only the second part of that command.   In an effort to please myself, I have started being a frequent customer of the Tel Aviv beaches in a constant pursuit of the beautiful Israeli women that I was told of (and recall vividly seeing here and there when I first came to Israel in 1961!).  During Shabbat on the beach, I evaluate every single woman in my horizon, lying on my stomach, on my back. half-way sitting up, my eyes hidden by dark sunglasses while pretending being engrossed in my Hebrew school book.  Unfortunately, six months after beginning my quest for women who would attract my attention, arouse my desire and possibly lead me on some road to adventure, I am yet to be convinced that  there is more to Israeli women than what I can observe twice of week when baking under the sun on a beach chair which I rent, twelve shekels for the day, from the  Russian beach master.


Indeed, if Venus came for vacation here in the time of the Roman occupation, the goddess of Love did not stay long enough to establish her descendance in the surroundings of Jafo (an Arab town now connected to Tel Aviv).


Although I am taking my celibate life extremely seriously and go out only when I know that someone else will foot the tab, I have decided to investigate if beautiful women can be found on the beaches lining up the Tel Aviv coast.  So, weekly, I spend regularly twelve hours over the weekend in a fruitless search, hoping that my eyes will cross the eyes of an Oriental (Sephardic) or East–European (Ashkenaz) beauty.  But all this to no avail ….


Most of the single female patrons of the beach are college girls, already on the heavy side due to excessive consumption of Humus and carbonated soft drinks, older women eating salads under their umbrellas in an effort to loose weight, while their husbands read newspapers or discuss the latest political controversy, and loose dogs happily go by depositing various liquids or solids in an unruly fashion.  The only women worthy of my attention and which would remotely remind me of some connection with the Goddess of Love are from Russian origin and possibly connected to the local Russian mob, thus precluding me to extend any offer remotely connected with sex.


Where are the beautiful Israeli women who, in theory, should line up on the sand, waiting for the charming prince to come (preferably from abroad) and take them for a ride on the way to eternal love?  Eternal love?  Or more simply sex ? 


Having traveled extensively for over seventeen years in over one hundred countries and five continents, I have often found in airports the local versions of "Time Out" (a British magazine recapping the local bars, restaurant, "specialized places" or other place of interest) but when looking for the Israeli equivalent, the only technical documentation which I could find was an "official" and "government approved" list of restaurants, cab companies, or clinics specializing in checkups for foreigners. This lead me to wonder about the possible existence of interesting places where foreigners like myself can indulge into sexual practices which are known in Europe but appear non-existent east of a line running from Rome to Capetown.  This lead me to yet an other question: are Israeli women conversant with an exceptionally rich   sex-life as the legend claims?


For those of you who are familiar with the Bible, this will not come as a surprise: God will have nothing to do with homosexuality, regardless if Gay or Lesbian. Homosexuality in Israel is looked upon as if it were a disease. This is yet another reason why religion and the affairs of the state should be fully separated.  The origin of this attitude is evidently religious.  Judaism severely condemns male homosexuality, as it appears that God has clearly stated his dislike for practices possibly involving anal sex between men (although He has been extremely discrete about female sexual intimacy). 


In the same fashion, for those of you attracted to "in depth knowledge" of the animals (zoophilia) remember that in the early days, you would probably have been stoned to death if caught during the act.  For those following the Bible, there should be no sex outside of the marriage and no sex within marriage unless it is intended strictly for reproduction, as we all know that reproduction of the human specie is the ultimate goal of marriage (!)  The Jewish encyclopedia that I always carry with me (1,245 pages) provides me daily with all kinds of explanations ranging from the reason why there are holes in the Matzoth (the bread cooked by the Jews when they exited Egypt) or why there are small bells on the top of Torah Scrolls… but the chapter regarding sexuality is rather limited and I needed to resource to my contacts with the "locals" to get better documented on the places where, If I wanted, I could start my path onward to sins of the flesh. 


There are some bars in South Tel Aviv, regular bars, where one can start the night.  Not long ago a nice woman held my hand longer than usual and asked me to look at her in the eyes while I was providing her with a light for her cigarette … was this a sign of a certain sexual freedom?  Or was it simply provocation?  I cannot recall what took place after as when I left "Nanouchka" (*) I was unsteady on my feet….


There are also some places in the wealthy areas of Savyion of Herzlia where some action reminding me of my days in California takes regularly place behind the walls of big houses far away from religious communities, and, provided that your own timetable is right, one may have a chance to catch a glimpse of a naked woman on the beach between Sheffayim and Haifa.  Short of this, if one is hungry for adventure in the country of milk and honey, one has to bring one's own ingredients for romance.  For the daring, used to establishments in Europe in which male or female bodies are shared by selected patrons, let me tell you - you have come to the wrong country!


My friend Eran came to my office the other day with a serious offer for a business investment.  In seconds, I saw myself already counting the money and laughing on my way to the bank.


Was it hi-tech from America that he wanted me to invest in?  Auto Parts?  Foodstuff from Europe to cater for rich Israelis?  No, no way - Eran is planning to invest in an internet site specialized in sexual toys and artifacts!  "There is a lot of money to be made here in this field - you see, sex life is very suppressed, people need to put more flavor in their sex life!"  Knowing that the price of the average and simple nine-volt powered electrical gadget ranges from 60 to 100 Euros (**)  I can easily believe him.  In a country where sex and Bible do not always go well together, there is probably a good market niche for mechanized rubber goods.  May be I should contribute.  Who knows?  It could even become a Mitzvah(***).




(*) Nanouchka. Georgian Bar in Lilienblum Street, South Tel Aviv.  Recommended

(**) Prices have been verified about 5 month ago … No, I did not buy anything! Yes, the Israeli Ministry of Finance levies a tax on goods imported from China.

(***) A command by God. There are 613 Mitzvoth in the Torah



Copyright 2005 – Sylvain Ubersfeld






Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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