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The Oi-Face: Exclusive Interview with Jewrotica Founder Ayo Oppenheimer

Shalom Life speaks to Ayo Oppenheimer, founder of Jewrotica (publisher of the Hottest Rabbis list), on leading a Jewish sexual revolution with her forum that discusses sexuality, relationships, and Judaism

By: Zak Edwards
Published: October 29th, 2013 in News » World

Ayo Oppenheimer is the frontwoman of a new revolution.

She calls it Jewrotica.

The Austin, Texas resident began the website last year, acting as “an intersection between sexuality, gender, relationships, body image and Jewish tradition, culture, and heritage,” she told Shalom Life in an exclusive interview.

Offering daily erotic fiction and erotic poetry alongside weekly Torah commentary, editor columns, and sexual education pieces, Jewrotica is a place where people can express and learn about sexuality and Jewish traditions simultaneously.

Oppenheimer got the idea after becoming frustrated with how sexuality is rarely discussed in the community, despite it being a holy, encouraged, and integral part of our lives.


“The Jewish community is really organized in every area,” she says, “but there was no platform for discussions about sexuality and relationships, and certainly nothing that was producing quality literature about these subjects.”

But there was another reason: “The New York Times reported that 50 Shades of Grey was really popular in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York. If we’re getting to this point where we’re reading this information, then why not have something in a Jewish context?”

She makes a valid point.

And this is precisely what Jewrotica provides: a place where people can explore and talk about sexuality, all contextualized within Jewish culture, history, and heritage.

The site remains more than simply a place for Jewish-themed racy stories (although there are plenty of those!). Jewrotica is a forum where we can think about ourselves and our bodies in ways that tie us back to our roots. It encourages, and is successfully fostering, a dialogue within the Jewish community on sexuality as it pertains to Judaism.

“Very broadly, there are two types of Jewish communities,” Oppenheimer argues, “one of which is devout and traditional but very silent about sexuality. That silence leads to ignorance and shame. The other type is hip and progressive, so to speak, but the prevailing attitude is they don’t want Judaism in their sex lives.”


(Ayo Oppenheimer)

“We’re seeking to counter both of these,” Oppenheimer adds, and Jewrotica uses differing approaches that appeal to Jews of various backgrounds and sects, trying to help people become more comfortable in their social spheres. “Life is about relationships,” she says, “and to be able to help people gain more comfort and clarity in how they navigate relationships in an ethical and uplifting way, that’s been amazing for me.”

Oppenheimer is quick to point out that the site is for adults of all ages and backgrounds, taking great care to ensure people can control exactly what kind of content they want. The site features a stringent rating system from PG to XXX that filters content for each user, and she takes this feature very seriously.

“We don’t allow real names in the stories, nor do we allow nudity or pornography,” she stresses, because Jewrotica is first and foremost an inclusive space. You can also sort by types of content: essays, poetry, erotic fiction, and the sites many other forms of contents.

“There’s something really unique to the marriage of these two topics (Judaism and sexuality),” she says.

The site has recently been making the headlines for its somewhat controversial “World’s Hottest Rabbis” list, initially dubbed “World’s Sexiest Rabbis,” getting coverage from BBC News to the Huffington Post. While some have criticized the initiative, many have praised it for “highlighting some pretty fantastic rabbis” to a younger, and more secular audience.

Obviously, the list is not based (only) on physical appearance, but on what the rabbis have, and continue to, do for their respective communities; simply put, there are three requirements to make the list: “the smarts,” “getting some action,” and “the badass factor.”

Nominations are currently being accepted here.

Equally exciting, Jewrotica has taken to the streets, so to speak, doing a workshop tour earlier this year that started at Yale University. The workshops take three forms, each with their own playful and informative ways of educating and getting people engaged.

Continue reading on page 2!

Related articles: Jewrotica, Jewish News, Sexual Revolution, Relationships, Gender, Jewish Traditions, Religion, Ayo Oppenheimer, Sexiest Rabbis, Hottest Rabbis
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