Dr. Ruth Westheimer believes that dating apps are not a bad idea for singles on the dating scene, but that people should certainly “use their brains” in choosing if and where they meet with strangers with whom they match.
That was just some of the advice the world-renowned sex therapist gave Wednesday when she appeared at the Great Neck Squire Cinemas for a Gold Coast Cinema Series-sponsored screening of her new documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, followed by a Q&A moderated by Michael Glickman, the President of the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
“What I do talk about is to warn about apps,” said Westheimer. “Not that I don’t want people to use it, because I don’t want anyone to be lonely, but people have to use their brains to meet some place where it’s safe. The other thing that worries me is the art of conversation is getting lost. Everybody is looking at their phone as if the world is going to crumble if you’re not constantly looking.”
Ask Dr. Ruth is directed by Ryan White and goes into intricate details of her childhood, including being sent to a children’s home in Switzerland at the age of 10 in order to escape the Holocaust, and how the experiences and losses she faced impacted her life. Westheimer first rose to prominence in September 1980 with a 15-minute radio segment called “Sexually Speaking,” which aired on Sunday evenings at midnight on WYNY-FM (NBC) in New York. Her show generated so much buzz from her honest and straight-to-the-point sex advice that it became a one-hour segment. From there, Westheimer’s career took off, including television, film, books, and games.
As a member on the board of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York, Westheimer explained the documentary is not just about her, but to educate others on an important part of history that people must remember so it doesn’t happen again.
“There are people who are Holocaust deniers,” said Westheimer. “And then there are people who talk about Holocaust fatigue, that say we shouldn’t talk about it anymore. At the Museum of Jewish Heritage, we have a very big exhibit on Auschwitz, and I want everybody to go and see it, so that those people who say they have Holocaust fatigue can see somebody has to teach it.”
While Westheimer states that she is “not involved in politics,” recent events in the news contributed to the important message that she conveys in her film.
“I have to stand up and talk about anti-Semitism,” said Westheimer. “All of us have to fight so that this will not happen again. I’m not involved in politics, except these days I have changed my mind. I’m very upset when I see children separated from parents. That of course makes me feel like I felt on January 5, 1939.”