Tonight I’m moderating a discussion between Rabbi Mark Borovitz and Noel Biederman, the founder of the web site AshleyMadison.com. I first heard Biederman on the Howard Stern Show. Howard’s incisive interviews with him exposed all the genius and complexities behind the man and his site, which facilitates adulterous affairs online. When I read a Bloomberg News story describing how AshleyMadison.com is a runaway internet sensation, I suggested to our Singles blogger, Ilana Angel, that she weigh in on the subject. Biederman is Jewish, and I was fascinated about how he handles moral criticism of his enterprise. Ilana’s fiery blog posts caught the attention of Biederman himself, the two began an e-mail debate, they met, fell in love…. No. That last part didn’t happen. Biederman is happily married. Ilana even had the chutzpah to interview his wife. The interviews evolved into a suggestion that The Jewish Journal arrange a dialogue among Ilana, a rabbi and Biederman here in LA. That dialogue is taking place tonight with Rabbi Markl Borovitz, Biederman, and me, as the moderator. A major media outlet is filming it for a documentary on adultery.
And, needless to say, in my opening remarks, I’ll have to thank the man who inspired it all, Howard Stern.