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Author Discusses Jewish Views On Sexual Roles and Feminism

By Laura E. Schanberg

"Sex is more important than food and shelter," Rabbi David M. Feldman, a noted Jewish author, said in a lecture last night co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel Society and the Harvard Interfaith Program in Medical Ethics.

Citing sources from the Talmud and the Old Testament, Rabbi Feldman said, "I favor premarital sex over adultery, but certainly not over marriage. If the proper intent and commitment accompany physical relations, premarital involvement is certainly understandable," he added.

Casual liaisons promote promiscuity and destroy the holiness of sexual relationships, Feldman said. "Sex should be a person-to-person call, rather than a station-to-station one."

The crowd remained silent for Feldman's hour and a half lecture, until he brought up the subject of the feminist movement. His statement that a quarrelsome wife was the result of repressed sexual desires was greeted with hisses from the audience.

Feldman said that Judaism places paramount inportance in the desires and preferences of the woman, making it the husband's obligation to satisfy them. "The Bible even supplies a graduated scale for quality and frequency according to occupation, health, and age," he said.

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