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Jewish Journal

The Porn Star and the Rabbi

by Carin Davis

February 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

Adult film star Nina Hartley will speak on "Love and Sex in the 21st Century."

Adult film star Nina Hartley will speak on "Love and Sex in the 21st Century."

Did you hear the one about the rabbi, the porn star and the adult magazine editor? They don't walk into a bar, they walk into a synagogue.

Adult film star Nina Hartley and her fiancé, Taboo Magazine editor Ira Levine, will speak on "Love and Sex in the 21st Century" at Temple Beth Ami in Santa Clarita. The seminar, to be held Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m., is part of the Reform congregation's ongoing adult-education series.

Beth Ami's Rabbi Mark Blazer, 33, recognizes the seminar may be controversial. "People will say, 'You can't do that at a synagogue,' but why not? It's a mitzvah to make your wife happy," he says.

The rabbi believes his monthly seminars give congregants access to relevant topics that otherwise remain unexplored in a Jewish setting. Blazer says the oft-taboo sex education class is a timely Purim lesson. "Purim is a sexualized tale. I want people to read the Megillah not as they teach it to young children, but as the adult story it is," Blazer said. "Esther really pushes the limits of what a Jewish woman can do. So we're presenting Nina Hartley, who does the same. She's a passionate Jewish hero for sexuality," he adds.

Hartley, who stars in over 570 adult films, produces an adult video series and lectures at college campuses across the United States, said she is looking forward to bringing her seminar to a Los Angeles synagogue. "I want to share my sexual knowledge and experience with a Jewish audience. While Ira and I are nonpracticing Jews, we both identify with the religion and our history," Hartley says.

The discussion will probe the role of sexuality in relationships from traditional, religious and adult entertainment perspectives. "Properly used, sexuality and adult materials help maintain a healthy relationship and a successful marriage," Hartley says. For this adult-film star, sexuality is the ultimate expression of emotion. "It's called 'making love' for a reason," she notes.

The class is free of charge and open to the general public. For more information, call Temple Beth Ami (661) 255-6410 or visit www.templebethami.org .

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