Rabbi. Celebrity confidant. Sex therapist. Voters in New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District will have a chance to elect a representative with all those qualifications and more after Shmuley Boteach won the Republican primary Tuesday night.
Boteach is known for his role as “spiritual adviser” to the late superstar Michael Jackson. The Hasidic rabbi recorded a series of conversations with the King of Pop that he published after his death as a book, “The Michael Jackson Tapes: A Tragic Icon Reveals His Soul In Intimate Conversation.” He has been a frequent fixture on daytime and reality TV, hosting a radio show on Oprah Winfrey’s network and a TLC show, “Shalom In The Home.”
As an author, however, it’s hardly his only notable release. He also put out a series of Judaic sex advice books, with titles like Kosher Sex, The Kosher Sutra, and Kosher Adultery: Seduce and Sin With Your Spouse. One of his causes behind his campaign is a desire to spice up the Republican party’s puritanical reputation with some wholesome family sex.
“We don’t believe that sex is for procreation,” Boteach told The Daily Beast in an interview. “We love children—I have nine kids. And yet we believe in great sex, passionate sex, electrifying sex. Sex is for intimacy, and the Bible makes that absolutely clear.”
He’s considered a longshot in the Democrat-heavy district, which was also the site of a heated primary between incumbent Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman, who were pitted against each tother through redistricting. Boteach recently made headlines by publicly offering to moderate their dispute in the tough campaign via a web video.
Update: The battle between Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman has gotten really ugly. As in Jew hatred ugly (hat tip: Norm)
Today’s Democratic primary in New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District — which, due to redistricting, is a contest between two incumbent congressmen, Steve Rothman and Bill Pascrell — has developed into an ugly fight over Israel. Pascrell has courted the local Arab and Muslim community, and Rothman, who is Jewish, has faced attacks over his support for the US-Israeli alliance — and they haven’t been confined to policy disagreements, but have included shrill charges of dual loyalty, a staple of anti-Semitic discourse. From a disturbing report on the race by the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo:
“One side says, ‘We want this Jew out of office’ and, frankly, it’s pretty unsettling,” Ben Chouake, president of NORPAC, a pro-Israel political action committee based in Englewood Cliffs, told the Free Beacon. “They emphasized [Rothman] is a Jewish congressman.”
It gets worse. Some of the people and institutions that Pascrell has cozied up to are rather sinister:
Pascrell also has embraced Imam Mohammad Qatanani, a controversial Passaic spiritual leader who stands accused by the State Department of hiding a conviction in Israel for having ties to the terror group Hamas.
Update: Pascrell defeated Rothman, meaning he now faces Boteach.
Which means, believe it or not, I would endorse Boteach.