Posted by Ilana Angel
After ten years, four seasons, and over 100 days, Boston Rob finally won the million dollar prize on Survivor and I am so happy. Rob is the reason I got hooked on Survivor all those years ago, and I think he should have won every time he played. He is brilliant at this game, and it’s about time we can officially call him the sole survivor.
I love how he plays the game, love his interviews along the way, and love that he finally got to be a winner after being so gracious about his wife Amber being a winner when he never was. It was a fun season to watch because of him, and the truth is Boston Rob was the only reason I kept watching after the fabulous/despicable Russell got the boot.
Having Russell and Rob come back and be pitted against each other was awesome, and it’s stupid Russell got eliminated so early. Rob not only won the title of sole survivor and the million dollar prize, he also won the $100k fan favorite. Congratulations to Rob. He earned it, he deserved it, and I loved watching it. In fact, I called it week one.
I’m going to call a couple more finales. Scotty McCreery is going to win American Idol. I’m not a huge country music fan but I like it, own a few country albums, and this kid is amazing. He is super cute, super talented, incredibly charming, and an All American boy. He loves God, the troops, his fans, and the United States of America.
I love this kid. At only 17 years old, he is calm cool, collected, mature, serious, playful, and ready. I can see him as a huge country music star and people will be listening to his records 40 years from now. This is a talented kid who is sticking tight to his morals and values on his wild ride to fame, and he has my vote. I think he’ll win.
As for Celebrity Apprentice, I think John Rich is going to win. I love Marlee Matlin but I think John has been a better player, united with everyone he has worked with, not burned any bridges, and just overall more deserving through all the tasks. I am not familiar with his music, but I love his work ethic and attitude.
There is something very American about country music people. They feel safe, caring, generous, and humble. They love God and country, and are not out to hurt anyone, just play the games and represent themselves in a manner that will make their families proud, and not make any waves. Not a lot of scandals in the country music world.
I love reality television. By love of course I mean I am addicted. I sat down today and made a list of the shows I watch, or have watched, and I am not ashamed to tell you that I am a little ashamed. I watch it, I like it, I write about it, and I get a lot of flack because of it. People either love or hate reality television and sadly I love it.
I don’t mean sad in the sense that it’s pathetic I watch so much, I mean sad that my dating life is so nonexistent I am spending Saturday with my TIVO and reality television because that is more appealing than going out on yet another bad date with someone I have nothing in common with. It’s horrible when flannels and TV trump a date.
As I was flipping through Survivor, The Real Housewives of Orange County, and Celebrity Apprentice on Sunday night, I realized who the most popular person in reality television is. It’s interesting because this man has never been on a reality show, yet he is mentioned in every show by at least one contestant. Turns out the most popular man in reality television is Jesus.
People thank him, credit him, praise him, confide in him, and give him credit for their not only being on the show, but for everything to happen in their lives before the show, during the taping, and for every day to follow. There are a lot of people who have faith, but those who love Jesus like to shout it from the rooftop for all to hear.
I am Jewish so Jesus isn’t a part of my worship, which is nothing against Jesus, just my personal belief. I can say however, that I respect those who praise him with such conviction and compassion because I am a woman of faith, have a love for and connection to God, and I lean on him in times of joy and sorrow.
Having faith is important and so when I hear tragic stories and people say it they will get through it because of Jesus, or pray in the name of Jesus, or are convinced their 15 minutes as a reality television star is because of the support of Jesus, I smile a little, taking comfort in their beliefs, and wish them well on their reality television quest.
Now before all the crazies come out and tell me I am horrible for praising those who praise because those dedicated to Jesus are also blowing up abortion clinics, defacing temples, and boycotting gay marriage, just stop. I know. This is not about fanatics, extremists, or crazy people. This is about acknowledging that faith matters.
I like that Rob, Scotty and John all wear a cross for everyone to see. I like that you can share your faith on reality television and I think more Jews need to be represented on reality TV. Not weird Jews like the creepy guy from Big Brother, or the silent Jews like Jason from The Bachelor, or the stereotyped Jews like Jill Zarin from the Real Housewives.
I’d like to see a regular person, who is funny, charming, and endearing, who also happens to be a Jew, like Jesus, and not afraid to say it out loud. Mazel Tov to Rob on his win, and good luck to Scotty and John. I am working on my reality television addiction, grateful for my TIVO, and as for a non-embarrassing Jew getting on reality television, I’m keeping the faith.
5.22.13 at 6:34 am | I am forever touched by this young man.
5.19.13 at 5:43 pm | JDate should be more of a mensch.
5.17.13 at 5:27 pm | I am never going on another coffee date.
5.14.13 at 4:36 pm | Love needs a kick in the ass.
5.11.13 at 12:44 pm | My Mom gets the day off because this one is on me.
5.9.13 at 4:10 pm | Love s certainly a game, but it does not need to. . .
5.14.13 at 4:36 pm | Love needs a kick in the ass. (389)
5.17.13 at 5:27 pm | I am never going on another coffee date. (383)
5.19.13 at 5:43 pm | JDate should be more of a mensch. (325)
May 13, 2011 | 10:01 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
My son has only 6 weeks of school left before he starts his summer vacation. We are planning out the summer, reviewing the calendar, and booking trips. He will go be going away for 4 weeks and while I could not be happier for him, my heart is skipping a beat at the thought of him being gone for so long.
As we sat and figured out what he will do, I started to cry. Not for my son, or for me, but for Gilad Shalit I am about to lose my mind because I won’t see my kid for 4 weeks, and I can’t help but think about Gilad who has been held in captivity for coming up on 5 years. He was abducted at 19 and will turn 25 this summer.
I am keeping this brave young man in my prayers and each time I kiss or hug my child, I am sending that love to Gilad and his family. I am putting on a brave face for my kid and assuring him I will be fine while he is gone, and that he will have a wonderful time, but in reality, I will miss him almost more than I will be able to handle. The blessing is that I know he is coming home.
To all parents who have a child missing, my heart is sad for you. All of us who are blessed to be with our children on this Shabbat must say a prayer and send love to these children through the love we give to our own. God bless you all. You and your children are not forgotten. I wish you peace and pray your children come home. To Gilad and his family, keep the faith.
May 13, 2011 | 5:54 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Ashton Kutcher is replacing Charlie Sheen on CBS’s Two and a Half Men. I get it. I think. Kutcher is funny and charming. He has great comedic timing and he should be a great addition. However, if they bring him on in some kind of dream sequence, I will be pissed.
I never watched the show with Charlie so it won’t be a big deal if I don’t watch it now, but I’m interested, and will certainly turn into see how they will bring him in, and how he does. I’m happy for him but I’m also sad for Charlie. His drug induced winning streak has gotten off track.
CBS confirmed that Ashton would not be reprising Sheen’s role of Charlie Harper. Kutcher is 12 years younger and about 2 feet taller than Sheen so good they gave the audience a little credit and are not having him in the same role. Speculation has begun on how he is written in.
About his new job Kutcher said, ”We can fill the stage with laughter that will echo in viewer’s homes. I can’t replace Charlie Sheen but I’m going to work my ass off to entertain the hell out of people.” It’s sad that the only mention of Sheen in any of the press releases came from Kutcher.
Chuck Lorre, the focus of Sheen’s outrage said the following, “We are so lucky to have someone as talented, joyful and just plain remarkable as Ashton joining our family. Added to that is the deep sigh of relief knowing that our family stays together. If I was any happier, it’d be illegal.”
I think it would have been nice if Lorre acknowledged Sheen and thanked him for catapulting the show to its level of success. I get there is bad blood, but still, Lorre could have been a mensch and said thanks to Charlie, and that he wished him well. It would have been classy.
Charlie did not hesitate to comment on Ashton’s new job by saying, “Kutcher is a sweetheart and a brilliant comedic performer. Oh, wait, so am I.” He made a sarcastic dig at what the ratings will be, and while funny, it dripped of so much bitterness it was hard to laugh.
I hope Charlie lands on his feet and that Ashton keeps the show running for the sake of the cast and crew. It will be interesting to see how it plays out on the show and off. For Charlie his ending may include hookers, crack, cigarettes, Judaism and rehab so good luck Charlie. Keep the faith.
May 13, 2011 | 7:46 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
This week I spent some time with Michael Soter, who is a talented young writer. He is a 22 year old, attractive and talented Jewish kid, who, while young enough to be my son, is dating in Los Angeles, just like me. When dating, how much does age and gender effect what you do?
In talking to Michael about my blogs on dating, love and sex, and hearing his opinions, I thought he was a bit of a pig in terms of his dating and he thought I was neurotic in terms of mine. I’m a Jewish mother so being neurotic comes with the territory, and he is a man so being a pig on occasion is out of his control.
We decided to make a list of questions that tackles our view of dating, love, and sex, and see if we were perhaps not as different as one would think at first glance. How much does age and gender play into our perspectives? Here are the questions, with answers from both me and Michael.
WHAT DO YOU THINK TO YOURSELF BEFORE YOU MEET YOUR DATE?
MICHAEL: Sometimes I think, “Damn, I’m handsome, smart, and charming. If she doesn’t fall for me, she’s probably dense and blind.” Other times I think “What was she thinking when she agreed to go out with me? She probably just wants a free dinner. She probably feels bad for me.”
But I’m becoming more successful at clearing my mind before a date. I usually stay busy until right before I have to leave, attempting to go into a date without anxiety. I try not to judge myself or judge my date as either prettier than me, dumber than me, or more desperate than me.
If I go into the date without expectations and let things flow effortlessly, everything usually goes smoothly. I can then be more honest about whether or not we have a connection and we can mutually decide whether we want to see each other again.
ILANA: I case the joint for emergency exits, make sure I have a girlfriend scheduled to call me 30 minutes in should I need an emergency exit, pray to God I have not made a bad decision and am about to meet someone unsafe, order a drink, pop a TicTac and hope for the best.
HOW MANY DATES BEFORE YOU SHOULD HAVE SEX?
MICHAEL: I don’t have any pre-set guideline. If the girl wants to wait 3 months, I’ll wait three months. If the first date naturally leads to immediate sex, I am not going to throw her off of me.
ILANA: I have waited and not waited and it does not change how I feel about myself, or the man I am with. When I was young I was tormented if I slept with someone too soon, but now, in my 40’s, I am more forgiving of myself and allow myself to live and enjoy sex as part of my life.
WHAT’S ON YOUR LIST OF “DEAL BREAKERS”?
MICHAEL: I like to think I’m pretty open-minded, but no pre-ops or post-ops. And if she believes that she was a man in their past life? —I’m not sure what I’d do. Convicted felons? No problem, as long as she’s interesting.
ILANA: There are certainly things that I am not interested in at this stage of my life, but I would not categorize them as deal breakers becasuse they are simply not an option. I only date men who are Jewish, but Jewish is not a deal breaker as much as it is a preference.
I also am not interested in dating a man with young children as my son is getting ready to leave the nest and I want to embrace the freedom. Again, I would not date someone with really young kids so it’s a preference, not a deal breaker.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT JDATE AND ONLINE DATING?
MICHAEL: I’d rather meet someone organically. I guess I’m old-school in that respect. But I am not opposed to dating sites. I just haven’t gotten to that point yet. Maybe it is because I don’t want to vulnerably expose myself in a public forum. No. That can’t be the reason. I’m fairly well-practiced in the art of public exposure. I think I’m just too lazy and have too much false pride to set up a profile.
ILANA: JDate is a hell train that I will never ride again, and online dating as a whole is a necessary evil. It can be scary and dangerous, but so is any way you meet someone. I don’t go to clubs, and I work from home, so I date online because my options are limited.. I have had enough success with it that I am able to continue. I’ve become a little jaded, but remain hopeful.
WHO PAYS FOR A FIRST DATE?
MICHAEL: It depends. If I ask her out, it is my responsibility to pay. She agreed to go out with me and I want to show my gratitude and treat her gallantly—I want her to know that I am a gentleman, but I also don’t want to seem like I am just trying to “win” her.
If she asks me out, it is a trickier situation—especially if she chooses the restaurant. I may not be able to afford it. I’ll make sure that I have enough to cover the tab, but I think she should offer to pay her portion. Then, I can tell her not to worry about it. If she insists, I don’t stand in her way. Instead, I say that I will buy ice cream/coffee after dinner—this stops the fight over the bill and guarantees a dating continuance.
After the first date, it is dependent upon more factors; it becomes more complicated. Footing the bill is not the only way to show my chivalrous nature—holding the door, listening to what she says, and respecting her boundaries are more gentlemanly than picking up the tab.
ILANA: If I invite a man out, I will pay. Most men will not allow it, but I still offer. If I am asked out, then the man will generally pay. If asked to go dutch, I will happily pitch in. Money is never really a discussion or issue when dating at my age.
DO YOU DRINK ON A DATE?
MICHAEL: I don’t drink. I am a recovering alcoholic. But I don’t mind if my date orders something while we are out. It truly doesn’t bother me. If it did, I would tell her. Last night, I went out with someone who ordered a vodka tonic. I ordered a diet coke. She asked why I am not drinking and I told her the truth, without trying to shy away or hide.
It didn’t seem to bother her. And if it did, c’est la vie. It’s better to get it out in the open on the first date than the fifth. But if you are going out with an alcoholic, I suggest that you respect their disease and don’t drink—at least on the first date. It is just more respectful.
ILANA: I am a very lightweight drinker. Two cocktails and I do not have a clear ability to make the right decisions. I generally stay away from drinking until I know the man, feel safe, and can relax a little. On a first date one glass of wine is my limit and I will nurse it over 2 hours. If I am on a date with someone who does not drink, then neither will I.
IS AGE A FACTOR WHEN DATING?
MICHAEL: I have a lot in common with many women who are much older than me, just as I have little in common with many women my age. Maturity is much more important. I would love to date a 35 year-old woman. I would also date an 18 year old. Age is not really an issue.
ILANA: Yes. I cannot relax with a man who is much younger than me, or one that is much older than me either. I am really trying to loosen up on this issue. I would hate to miss out on a great man because I have a hang up about him being too young or too old.
WHAT ARE YOUR DATING RULES?
MICHAEL: 1. Don’t take it too seriously: it’s a date, not a marriage. 2. Don’t manipulate: It brings me back to my addiction and it never works in the long run. 3. Be a good guy. 4. Don’t make any more rules.
ILANA: 1. Take it seriously, it could be your last first date. 2. Trust my gut. 3. Be a lady. 4. Follow the rules.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU SPEND ON A DATE?
MICHAEL: I don’t make much money. If a woman judges me based upon the amount of money I spend, she is not someone I should be with. We can eat good food in a pleasant atmosphere and do something fun afterward all for under $40 dollars. If Rachel Ray can eat for under $40 a day, I can certainly charm someone without much money. The best dates I’ve been on have been the cheapest. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not. But when I spend more money, the date seems to be worse. I don’t want to buy her, I want to charm her.
ILANA: It does not matter, just have a good time. If he can’t pay, I can.
DO FAITH AND RELIGION FACTOR INTO YOUR DATING LIFE?
MICHAEL: Faith and religion do not come into play when I am casually dating somebody. I can connect with an atheist just as easily as I can connect with a Jew. Any faith or religion is fine, just as long as she’s not radical or fundamentalist (though it might be fun to date a cult-leader for a couple weeks). I haven’t ever had a serious relationship so I honestly can’t say whether religion or faith would become important. I want her to have purpose and passion more than I want her to believe in God.
ILANA: Faith and religion are important. That said, faith trumps religion. I could not go out with someone who did not believe in God. He must be Jewish, but he does not need to practice as I do, or have the same worldview, but he must have a belief in something greater than himself.
I feel a connection to Judaism, and am raising a young boy to be a man. It is a tough job and if someone is going to be in my life, and have the blessing of knowing my son and being in his life, he should be able to share in our faith and help me to present Judaism to my son in a way that he embraces it.
I suppose Michael and I are quite different on paper, but if we lose the paper, and look into our hearts, we are very similar. Regardless of gender, age, or faith, we want to love and be loved. We want to feel safe and accepted, protected and brave. We want the same things are just working to get them in different ways.
It does not get easier when you are older. When it comes to love, experience does not make you smarter, and heartache is not recovered from quicker, so from that perspective, we are on a level plying field because for everyone who is dating, the field is riddled with land mines.
I love being 45. I feel confident, beautiful, sexual, and empowered in my search for love. I would not want to be 22 again and starting the journey of looking for love. I have found love, lost it, and I want it again. I am envious of Michael however in some ways.
He is not afraid, and open to anything. He dates in a very casual way in terms of his expectations, but still serious in his quest for love. Comparing his answers to mine is like comparing apples to oranges. Michael is 23 years younger than I am so it’s not the same game.
I look at some of his answers and realize they are closer to what my son would say, because they are only 7 years apart in age. I cannot help but look at him and think of my own child. He is a sweet, smart, handsome and funny Jewish kid who is also a recovering addict.
Michael is a recovering heroin addict. He does not look like what I would think a recovering addict looks like. He looks like my kid’s friend, or like a boy I had crushed on in college. He has taught me to focus on the what’s in the box, not just the wrapping paper. I will be a better dater for having him as a friend and teacher.
You can read Michael’s version of this blog at BTS Communications. Also, if you are a single lady who is interested in Michael, send me a note and I will happily introduce you to my gorgeous, 6’5”, blue eyed friend.
We never know what path our lives will take. Great Jewish kids can become addicts, and fabulous young Jewish women can become neurotic old ladies. Life is a blessing and love is wonderful. Regardless of how we find it, for both me and my new friend Michael, I am keeping the faith.
May 12, 2011 | 7:09 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I love my kid so much just talking about him makes me feel as though my heart might bust. He is funny, smart and an all around great kid. He has goals and dreams and his reaction to the news of Leo and Bar breaking up was fabulous.
One of the world’s most beautiful couples split up this week. They have broken up in the past and I imagine this split may be temporary and will eventually result in them getting married, but that’s just me. They seem like a sweet couple.
I mentioned in passing to my kid that they broke up and his response was immediate. He turned to me and said, “Great. Think I’ve got a shot?” It was the sweetest thing ever and my response was just as fast and I told him, “Of course.”
I wish Bar and Leo the best, hope they are fine, and find love again, either back with each other or apart. I encourage the millions of teenage boys who think they have a shot, to believe in yourselves. To Bar I say, I know a nice Jewish kid who would love to take you out for dinner and a movie.
It is our responsibility as parents to raise our kids with self-esteem and love of themselves. I am proud to have done that for my son. When you dream, dream big. Not only do I teach it to my son, but I practice it, which is why I am planning my wedding to George Clooney.
Love is grand. If you are with your beshert, or look at her picture on a wall and dream of her, it’s still love, and it matters. Whoever ends up being my son’s beshert, she will be a very lucky girl. It could be you Bar! Call me and I’ll make an introduction. My son is keeping the faith.
May 12, 2011 | 12:13 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Bethenny Frankel has built her career on a series of lies. She is at the top to be sure, but the funny thing about getting to the top, is that once there, you look down and see all the people you crushed to get there. That’s called karma and it has finally caught up with Bethenny.
By caught up, of course I mean it is biting her in the ass in a big way. All of her lies, all the time spent dancing on her father’s grave, all the negative energy spent on embarrassing and humiliating her mother, has lead to Bethenny having to pay her karmic debt.
Two of Bethenny’s former managers have slapped her with a lawsuit. It’s premature to speculate on what will happen but I will say I hope they win not only what they are asking for, but a little more. I have no respect for a self-made millionaire when self made means ruining others.
The suit was filed on Wednesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Doug Wald, co-president of Raw Talent, says he was Bethenny’s manager in 2008, and responsible for her meeting agents from APA, who would eventually sign her. They specialize in reality television fame whores.
According to the suit, Bethenny signed with them to be her agent in August of 2008, while Wald worked as her manager. As her manager, Wald would get a cut of what she made, as would APA. Bethenny was on a mission to make the Skinny Girl brand huge and they were to help her.
Additionally, the papers say there was an oral agreement between them that “any agreement relating to the exploitation of the Skinny Girl Cocktail Brand would be commissionable”. Wald further alleges he helped Bethenny meet David Kanbar, who is a liquor industry player.
Kanbar’s job was to help build the brand, based on her reality television fame, and then help her sell it. If you watch Bethenny Ever After, you know that Kanbar was her partner in the deal that just sold Skinny Girl to Jim Beam for what some are estimating was a sale of $120 million.
Turns out Bethenny fired Wald just days before the contract was signed to market Skinny Girl. She used him to get where she needed, then when money was to be made, cut him out of the deal. Sounds like Bethenny to me. She is a manipulative liar whose lies are out in the open.
If she is willing to dance on her father’s grave, crush her mother’s soul, and sell her soul to the devil for fame and fortune, then certainly one can believe that she would screw over Wald. He is now suing for 10% of her deal, which is approximately $12 million. But wait, it gets better.
He is also asking the court to award him punitive damages to the tune of $100 million smackers. No surprise that we have not heard a word from Bethenny on the subject. I imagine she will settle out of court so as not to let too many lies out of the bag. Too late Bethenny.
The lawsuit says, “Notwithstanding her clear and unambiguous agreement and obligation to pay Raw Talent its 10 percent commission, Frankel now refuses.” The suit alleges causes of action for fraud, breach of oral contract, among other counts. They clearly filed from a place of yes.
At the end of the day, who cares? Her dad Bobby Frankel cares. Her mom Bernadette Parisella Birk cares, and one day her daughter Bryn will care. Be careful Bethenny because I have a feeling Karma is just starting to play her game with you. The lawsuit is the tip of the iceberg.
Good she is planning on another baby because when it all comes out, and it will, Bryn will feel about her mother, the way Bethenny feels about hers, and it will be nice for her to have a sibling to help comfort her when she no longer speaks to her mother or believes her lies.
When we met Bethenny years ago on the Real Housewives of New York City, she was funny and fabulous. She is now a shell of her former self, literally, and there is nothing she says or does that is believable. She created herself and got caught up in a desire for fame and fortune.
Time will tell what happens to Bethenny, her husband, baby, and the Skinny Girl lawsuit. My advice to Ms. Frankel would be to try to settle out of court so as not to have too many more lies unravel. Too many people are drinking your Kool-aid and if you crash and burn, so might they.
I wonder if Bethenny is kicking herself over the hole she has dug for herself. I doubt it. One who is willing to behave as she does, for everyone to see, is not worried about the mess, only that someone is watching. Nothing can help her now, not even keeping the faith.
May 11, 2011 | 2:35 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Last night JewishJournal.com presented a very special evening. Rob Eshman, Editor-in-Chief of Tribe Media Corp, the owners of the Jewish Journal, moderated a discussion between AshleyMadison.com Founder and CEO Noel Biderman, and Rabbi Mark Borovitz of Beit T’Shuvah.
It was a fascinating discussion and I am still trying to wrap my mind is around all the provocative and interesting things that were discussed. Let me begin by saying that Rob Eshman rocks. He is my boss, but still, I love him. Not in an Ashley Madison kind of way, but it a respectful way.
He is smart and articulate, funny and brilliant. It was a tough conversation to moderate as both Noel and the Rabbi had strong opinions and convictions, and were not scared to share them. The subject matter lends itself to strong feelings, and Rob kept it all together, on topic, and with no punching.
I have got to give kudos to Noel Biderman. He accepted my invitation to come to Los Angeles to have this conversation, knowing he was walking into the lion’s den. He has done dozens of these types of events around the country but I think this one a little tougher on him as Jews are tough.
The event was in a temple, with a Rabbi, with an audience that was predominately Jewish, and Noel is a Jew, so there was an underlying feeling of judgment that was palpable. How could “one of our own”, be providing a service that is so harmful to other human beings?
It is important to remember Noel Biderman did not invent adultery. He is not the reason people cheat in their marriages. He is a businessman who has an e-commerce business and when he is not at work, he is a husband and father, who believes in God and supports his family.
That said, his service is, to me, a disgusting thing, and it is hard to not define him as AshleyMadison as he is the face and voice of the company. I feel a little bad for him that in stepping into the spotlight to make his company a success, he has become a target of hate.
There was hate in the room last night. You could feel the daggers digging into Noel and it was intense. I do not like the word hate, do not like to use it, and will not allow my son to use it. I don’t hate Noel, or hate AshleyMadison, but I was angered by the conversation.
Noel Biderman has a script and he is sticking to it. He does not feel bad about the work he does, or guilt for his role in helping others break vows or damage souls. He is a believer in God, and does not worry about any karmic debt he will have to pay for the work of AshleyMadison.
People cheat all day, everyday. They cheated long before Ashley Madison existed and will continue long after it’s gone, but with 9 million users, that day may never come. Having a discussion about infidelity and faith is a slippery slope and I felt the group was very harsh on Noel.
By group, of course I include myself. It’s hard to not like Noel Biderman, and just as hard to separate him from his work. He is a great looking guy, with a loving wife, two young children, and a great sense of humor. If I met him under any other circumstances, I would adore him.
Last week I met Ashley Madison’s chief legal counsel as he was in town and Noel thought we would enjoy meeting each other. I am from Toronto, and they are based there, we know some of the same people, and have the connection of being Canadians, which is a great thing.
He is a great guy and I am trying to set him up on a date with a girlfriend of mine in Toronto. He is Jewish, educated, adorable, funny and charming. He also works for Ashley Madison, which is proving to be a bit of a hiccup. These great Jewish men are tainted by their work.
The feeling with many of the guests was that Noel Biderman is much like a drug dealer. Providing something harmful, yet getting rich and sleeping well at night while those who are buying his wares, are suffering great harm. Noel does not agree, or really understand in my opinion.
It’s troubling that he is unwilling to admit, on any level, that what Ashley Madison does is hurtful. He truly sees it as a service to help people deal with their bad marriages, or even more ridiculous, a tool to help save marriages that are in trouble. That statement made me want to hit him.
When I shared that I had been cheated on, which I have discussed several times in my blog, he said it was my fault my partner cheated. When I told him I was divorced, he let me know my son will not amount to much as a child of a single parent home. These are his opinions and beliefs.
It pushes me to a place where I want to be unkind. I wanted to jump up and defend my choices, my child, and my heart. By wanted of course I mean I did. I was livid and am not sure I was articulate because my words where fueled by anger. Noel Biderman knows how to push buttons.
I don’t want to talk about Noel anymore because this was never about Noel. He is a decent guy, making a living, and taking care of his family. What he believes, or doesn’t believe, is none of my business. We are different people, and different Jews, and that is okay.
However, I do want to talk for a moment about AshleyMadison. It is a website that is dedicated to helping people who are married and in committed partnerships, hurt each other, disrespect God, and themselves. It is a horrible site, providing a horrible message and service.
That said, had it been marketed as a site for people who are simply looking for sex online, it would have still been gross, but somehow not as offensive. It’s the blatant marketing to married people that is what bothers me so much. They crossed a line in terms of taste and decency.
Sex happens. Thank God. The Internet helps people find sex. The only difference between Ashley Madison and JDate or Match.com, is the marketing. Match and JDate certainly sell sex, Ashley Madison however, goes one step further and sells sin, which is not kosher.
Would we have been on such an attack last night if Noel had not been one of the tribe? I’m not sure. It was interesting to see him talk with the Rabbi about Judaism. Rabbi Borovitz did a good job of talking about faith and infidelity, but even he got frustrated with Noel’s robotic answers.
While the Rabbi was passionate, Noel lacked passion and was spoke very matter of factly. I have great respect for Rabbi Borovitz for participating when several well-known colleagues of his would not touch it with a ten foot pole. He did himself and his congregation proud.
I left the evening feeling more sad than anything else. Sad that Noel did not seem to mind that his work hurts people. Sad that he slipped out without saying goodbye. Sad that his impression of me is that I am hurting my child by raising him in a single parent home.
I will try to not take it all personally, but I must say, having someone judge you in such a way is hurtful. I imagine that must be how Noel Biderman lives his life everyday, so in the end I feel for him. As a mother, and a Jew, I must have compassion for him, not hate.
At the end of the day, I am smart enough to know Noel Biderman is not AshleyMadison, and that AshleyMadison is not a service I will ever understand or approve of. My final words are to Noel. Thank you coming, and for being brave. For you and your family, I am keeping the faith.
May 10, 2011 | 12:47 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know I have written several articles about the AshleyMadison.com website. I interviewed its founder and CEO Noel Biderman, and even spoke with his wife in an attempt to understand how a site like this exists, is so popular, and more importantly, who is the man behind it all.
I wrote that I thought it was disgusting. Mr. Biderman read the blog and let me know that I was clearly angry and bitter, and did not understand him or his site. That email led to several more, a few conversations, and an invitation to come to Los Angeles and have an open discussion about infidelity and faith with a Rabbi. And so the nightmare began.
JewishJournal.com was more than willing to sponsor an event as they thought it was provocative and interesting. They have always allowed my voice to be heard. By allowed of course I mean fought for me to able to speak my mind on a variety of topics, some not always kosher. They reached out to several Rabbis in Los Angeles to join in the conversation.
Everyone that they invited said no. They did not want to welcome Noel into their shul, or have their congregations involved in the conversation. For me, it was embarrassing that the leaders of my faith were not willing to welcome Noel, himself a Jew, into their places of worship and stand on the side of God for what was right. It angered me enough to take action.
I contacted Rabbi Mark Borovitz of Beit T’Shuva, which is both a temple and a recovery program. He is a Rabbi with a past unlike any other, and when I asked him if he would talk to Noel, his response was fast and solid. He told me, “Noel is welcome here”. He was the only one to agree to the conversation, and I am happy to say that conversation is happening tonight.
I am proud of the Rabbi for saying yes, proud of Noel for sticking to his promise to come, proud of the Jewish Journal for helping to pull it all together, and proud of myself for not letting it go when people told me it was not going to happen. This interesting and provocative discussion is not only happening, but being filmed.
I can take criticism of my blog, but nobody can tell me that in the off chance I happen to find my beshert, he is guaranteed to cheat on me, and should I share the sorrow with God, he will not care. I like Noel Biderman. He is a mensch who offers a service I do not approve of, but he is not Ashley Madison. However, he has me fired up and for tonight, so he should keep the faith.