At 7 a.m. each day, as the rest of America is eating Cheerios or trying to face gridlock without hyperventilating, about a dozen women, naked from the waist down, lie with eyes closed in a velvet-curtained room, while clothed men huddle over them, stroking them in a ritual known as orgasmic meditation — “OMing,” for short. The couples, who may or may not be romantically involved, call one another “research partners.”
A commune dedicated to men and women publicly creating “the orgasm that exists between them,” in the words of one resident, may sound like the ultimate California satire. But the Bay Area has a lively and venerable history of seekers constructing lives around sexual adventure.
…Another member, Racheli Cherwitz, 28, had spent years grappling with anorexia and alcoholism, she said. In search of identity, she moved to Israel and became an Orthodox Jew.
Discovering One Taste, she said, has improved her self-image and given her “deep physical access to the woman I am and the woman I want to be.”
Ms. Cherwitz commutes to New York and offers private sensuality coaching at a satellite outpost operated by One Taste on Grand Street. Many of her clients, she said, are married Orthodox Jewish couples from Brooklyn.
…Her pathway back to life was initially Buddhism, which she pursued with a vengeance, intending to live in a Zen community. But at a party in 1998, she met a Buddhist who had a practice in what he called “contemplative sexuality.”
He invited her to lie down unclothed, set a timer and, while stroking her, proceeded to narrate in tender detail the beauty he saw, the colors that went from coral, to deep rose, to pearlescent pink. “I just broke open, and the feeling was pure and clean,” Ms. Daedone said. “In a strange way, I think at that moment I decided to live.”
Since opening One Taste, she has allowed it to go through numerous permutations; to her chagrin, it initially attracted misfits who “liked to get sloppy and grope each other,” she said.
…Ms. Daedone wants One Taste to be mainstream, and to that end the center presents lectures by rabbis and Tibetan monks, along with public classes and workshops in “mindful sexuality.”
I wonder how this wisdom can be incorporated into Orthodox Judaism?