A rabbi best known in Britain for his book “Kosher Sex” and his friendship (now lapsed) with the bizarre pop star Michael Jackson is to present a new reality television show about troubled families called “Shalom in the Home.” Among the first issues to be discussed will be gay parenting.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach became a prominent figure in the British media circuit in the late 1990s whilst chaplain for the Oxford University L’Chaim (“to life”) Society where he hosted signatories including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former Israeli prime minister, Shimon Peres.
He came to national attention following the publication of books including “Kosher Sex” and “Kosher Adultery,” soon becoming a regular guest on mid morning chat shows.
In one of the first episodes of his show to be shown on Discovery’s TLC channel, Mr Boteach visits a lesbian couple and their two children. “A boy in her school always says to her [the couple’s daughter]: ‘Your mother did it with a straw.’ That’s a lot for a 12-year-old to take,” Mr Boteach told Reuters.
“That particular episode is not about ‘Is gay marriage right or wrong? Should gay people adopt?’ It’s about real life,” Mr Boteach added, saying that he is not trying to shock or make political points.
The rabbi is the son of divorced parents and he claims this inspired him to counsel troubled families: “The insecurity of my childhood led me to want to be recognized for my work. I’ve battled that urge for recognition all my life, not that it’s intrinsically evil, but it is shallow,” he said. “I want to be the real thing. I’m a rabbi. I’m not a television host.”
In another episode, Mr Boteach tells a mother to stop breastfeeding her 11-month-old baby as he sex life has become non-existent, saying: “One of the most erotic parts of your body has become a cafeteria.”
“That advice was highly contentious,” he adds. “It was debated whether it should be in the show.”