Rabbi Natan Alexander, 34, has cooked up a kosher business for a non-kosher subject: the manufacturing and distribution of sex toys for Orthodox Jews.
Large families are highly valued in certain Orthodox communities. For married couples, doing the deed is considered a double good deed on the Sabbath. However, the discussion of sex in many Orthodox communities is taboo and what is considered risqué in the public eye begins with holding hands before marriage.
Certain Talmudic parables and even modern manuals written for Orthodox brides warn against the intrinsic precarious nature of sex; one false move in the bedroom and the chosen people can fall off the precipice of holiness into apocalyptic destruction.
Sites like Jewrotica, a 3-year-old website that produces sexual content within the context of Jewish culture, have cultivated platforms to spark dialogue about sexual topics through advice columns, educational resources and workshops.
Batsheva Marcus, Orthodox sex therapist and guru who works with women of stringent religious backgrounds, has started to illuminate the shadowy corners of the sexual murkiness in the more observant communities, through basic sexual education coupled with encouragement for women to connect with their inner eros.
Alexander’s methods are far less erudite or verbal. Rather than Talmudic texts and detailed manuals, his library consists of gadgets meant to ignite passion, not dialogue, in the bedroom.
Alexander is a self-proclaimed religious nationalist, which he says means he is a devout, practicing Jew who embraces certain modern realities.
Through his website, Better2gether, the rabbi hopes to unearth and sustain the joys of intimacy for married, observant couples with the aid of erotic toys such as the "sqweel," a sex toy of rotating silicone.
While the use of bedroom gizmos is not directly prohibited in the religious world, oftentimes the process of procuring them prevents members of the Orthodox community from investing, due to racy images found on the packages and websites.
Alexander, who lives in Elazar, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, developed a solution to the quandary by creating a site free of sultry visuals or lewd language. Each toy is wrapped in modest packaging, eliminating the risk of offending the Orthodox eye.
"Our approach provides modesty, sensitivity and and confidentiality," says the description on the homepage.
The site’s name and content promote spousal intimacy, emphasizing the goal to celebrate sexual expression as a couple. Alexander, who purifies himself daily in the ritual pool in the hills of Bat Ayin, is a proponent of equality between wives and husbands. According to Bloomberg.com, the rabbi says, “It’s not about my orgasm, it’s about our orgasm.”