Chief Rabbi gives his blessing to the joys of kosher sex

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THE CHIEF RABBI, Dr Jonathan Sacks, has shocked the conservative Jewish community by backing the author of a book which broadens the kinds of sex permitted for Orthodox Jews.

The book, Kosher Sex, and its author, Rabbi Shmuel Boteach, have already been criticised by the highly influential head of London's Rabbinical court and the chairman of the United Synagogue's council of Rabbis.

Yet Dr Sacks's office told today's Jewish Chronicle that Rabbi Boteach is: "One of the more creative and imaginative talents of our community [who] has been prepared to take risks in order to communicate an authentic Jewish message to a new generation."

Kosher Sex argues that the rabbinical line restricting sex to the missionary position represents advice, not Jewish law, and that other practices are permissible if they increase intimacy between a married couple. It also examines the Jewish laws covering oral sex and masturbation.

Rabbi Boteach, American-born founder of the l'Chaim Society, previously courted controversy with a book titled The Jewish Guide to Adultery. He argues that as the only religion which specifically encourages sex for pleasure, Jews need not be squeamish about sex.

It had been reported that Dr Sacks was going to ban the book.

Some conservative leaders of the Orthodox community claim the Rabbi is wrong and that he trivialises and sensationalises sex. Rabbi Yisroel Fine, chairman of the United Synagogue's Rabbinical Council, told the Jewish Chronicle: "Some of the views he expresses are authentic and sound from a rabbinical point of view, some are not."

Some observers of Jewish Orthodoxy believe the Chief Rabbi's decision is prompted by his concerns about Jews marrying outside the faith.