Noam Zion: Sanctified Sex - the Jewish Debate on Marital Intimacy


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Judaism's views on sex, sensuality, and intimacy within marriage. Noam is now emeritus at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where since 1978 he has been a senior research fellow and educator. He earned a graduate degree in general philosophy at Columbia University and the Hebrew University, while studying Bible and Rabbinics at JTSA and the Hartman Beit Midrash. His popular publications and worldwide lecturing have promoted Homemade Judaism - empowering families to create their own pluralistic Judaism during home holidays - Pesach, Hanukkah and Shabbat. His most popular publications include: A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah; A Different Light: The Big Book of Hanukkah; A Day Apart: Shabbat at Home; The Israeli Haggadah: Halaila Hazeh; and A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices (published together with his son). His educational study guides for day school teachers include multidisciplinary analyses of family conflicts such as Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve, Hagar and Sarah, Abraham’s Calling, Rachel and Leah, Ruth and Naomi, and David and Batsheba. Each unit includes art, poetry, commentary and literary analysis. His most recent academic research encompasses a trilogy on the intellectual history of philanthropy entitled Jewish Giving in Comparative Perspectives (2013)and a nine-part series on Talmudic Marital Dramas (2018). In 2021 Jewish Publication Society publishes Sanctified Sex: The 2000 Year Jewish Debate on Marital Intimacy. Outstanding moments in his personal biography include: growing up as a rabbi’s kid in his father’s Conservative synagogue in Minneapolis (where the Coen brother’s film “A Serious Man” was filmed); going on a student mission to meet Soviet Jewry in 1968 (that ended with interrogation by the KGB and expulsion from the USSR); participating in the Columbia University protests (1968, 1970); and making aliyah during the Yom Kippur War (1973). His Dutch wife Marcelle, the Lamaze teacher, gave him her last name “Zion” (in place of Sachs) and five children and twelve grandchildren.

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