The Joy of Text

The Joy of Text is a monthly podcast about Judaism, sexuality, and the intersection of the two. Co-hosted by Rabbi Dov Linzer and Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus and moderated and produced by Rebecca Honig Friedman, this podcast features in-depth conversations by rabbinic and medical experts about subjects that you’ll almost never hear discussed anywhere else, even online. Each episode also includes answers to questions from listeners like you (see the link below to submit your own question).

The Joy of Text is supported by JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School.

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Season 3 Episode 5 The What If I Don’t Want Kids? Episode

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Recorded live at Brandeis University! “Be fruitful and multiply” is the first commandment in the Torah and a central value of the Jewish community, but what about those who go against the grain and choose to be child-free? Rabbi Dov Linzer and Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus dive into this question. Then, a lively and wide-ranging Q&A with our audience of college students offers Rabbi Linzer insights into frat parties. Plus: a listener gets The Final Word with some constructive criticism on Season 2’s “Thinking About Mikveh Before Marriage Episode”.

Season 3 Episode 4 Mini Text Episode – Jealousy (Num. 5:11-14)

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The passage from the Torah describing Sota (Num. 5:11-14) – a woman suspected of adultery – elicits a brief but wide-ranging discussion about the gendered nature of jealousy, home DNA tests, and the surprising reason some Orthodox communities forbid sperm donation.

Season 3 Episode 03 The Birth Control Episode

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IUDs, condoms, the pill, oh my! We break down the pros and cons of these and other common birth control methods and the halachic considerations that render some forms of contraception more acceptable than others. Then we hear from internationally renowned educator Rivkah Slonim, the Chabbad rebbetzin at SUNY Binghamton, about her three decades of teaching Jewish college students about sex and marriage. Plus, a listener responds to our episode on pornography.

Season 3 Episode 2 Mini Text Episode – Forbidden Fruit (Kiddushin 81a-b)

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Cautionary tales from the Talmud illustrate the power of sexual temptation to lead even the most revered rabbis astray… But do these stories make too much of desire? Hosts Rabbi Dov Linzer and Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus and moderator Rebecca Honig Friedman discuss a passage from Kiddushin 81a-b.
Click here to follow along with the sources.

Season 3 Premiere The Can We Really Do THAT? Episode

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Which sexual acts are permitted in a marriage? The answers might surprise you! Find out why co-host Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus calls this one of “the most important episodes” of the podcast. Plus we interview the creator of the hit YouTube series SOON BY YOU, Leah Gottfried, about the challenges of dating as an Orthodox Jew, and we introduce a new take on the Final Word.

Follow all the sources from this episode.
Source Sheet Part 1: From Husband to Wife
Source Sheet Part 2: From Wife to Husband

Season 2 Bonus Episode The Thinking About Mikveh Before Marriage Episode

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Recorded Live at Harvard Hillel! Should an unmarried woman who is in an intimate relationship use the mikveh before marriage? What are the relevant and often competing halakhic, personal, and communal  issues that must be considered? Includes Q&A with Harvard students on this theme and related topics, and heartfelt reflections by our hosts on why this podcast is the most important project they’ve undertaken.

Further study: Click here for the sources discussed in this episode!

Season 2 Episode 10 The Sex Ed Episode – High School Edition

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After our listener question about cuddling on the wedding night, our guest, Ora Weinbach, talks about her experiencing teaching sexuality at Abraham Joshua Heschel High School. We ask: What does a sex ed curriculum look like? What it’s like to teach sex-ed to a co-ed class? What’s a parent’s role in all this? And finally, what does sex ed have to do with a bad batch of chocolate chip cookies?

Season 2 Episode 9 Mini Text Episode – Power and Consent

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In this mini text episode we read a passage from Genesis 6 that sheds light on issues of consensuality in sexual relationships.

Season 2 Episode 8 The Wedding Night Episode

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In this episode, recorded LIVE at the JOFA Conference 2017, we ask: Must a bride and groom have intercourse on their wedding night or should they allow themselves a few days of sexual touch first? And does a woman always enter niddah after first intercourse? Finally, Dr. Naomi Marmon Grummet, Director of the Eden Center in Jerusalem, discusses the innovative work the Eden Center is doing with mikvaot in Israel.

Season 2 Episode 7 The Tznius Episode

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In this episode, a mother writes in about her daughter’s school dress code. We discuss ways to define modesty beyond collar bones and covered knees and how to cultivate positive body image for children growing up in religious environments. Later in the episode we are joined by Dr. Koby Frances, licensed clinical psychologist whose private practice specializes in dealing with sexual-religious conflicts.