October 17, 2021

Event Moderator: Dave Kelly

Behavioral Therapist, Sexpert and Alzheimer’s Caregiving Authority.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer may best be known for having pioneered talking explicitly about sex on radio and television, but as it turns out, that is only a small part of her rich and diversified life.

Born in Germany in 1928, Dr. Westheimer was sent to Switzerland at the age of ten to escape the Holocaust, which wiped out her entire immediate family. At the age of seventeen, she went to then Palestine. She joined the Haganah, the Israeli freedom fighters, was trained to be a sniper and was seriously wounded in a bomb blast.

She later moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and in 1956 went to the U.S. where she obtained her Masters Degree (M.A.) in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research, and Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in the Interdisciplinary Study of the Family from Columbia University Teacher’s College.

Her work for Planned Parenthood led her to study human sexuality under Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Centre, where she became an Adjunct Associate Professor. Subsequently she taught courses at various institutions of higher learning including Princeton and Yale. She currently is teaching a course at Columbia’s Teacher’s College and Hunter College. She continues to lecture worldwide.

Dr. Ruth is the author of 44 books, the latest of which are Stay or Go and Roller Coaster Grandma and is the executive producer of five documentaries. She has her own web page (www.drruth.com) and can be found on Twitter @AskDrRuth and on YouTube.

A one-woman show about her life, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” has played in the Berkshires, Hartford and off-Broadway and continues to tour. And a documentary about her life has been made, Ask Dr. Ruth, premiered on January 25th at the Sundance Film Festival and will be shown in theaters across the country and then on Hulu.

Dr. Westheimer, a widow, has two children, four grandchildren and resides in New York City.