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 went to Switzerland at the age of ten to escape the Holocaust, which wiped out her entire immediate family. At the age of sixteen she went to then Palestine. She joined the Haganah, the Israeli freedom fighters, and 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 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 Center, where she became an Adjunct Associate Professor. She is an Adjunct Professor at N.Y.U., and a fellow of both Calhoun College at Yale and Butler College at Princeton, where at the latter two she taught a seminar from 2005-2010, as well as a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. She currently is teaching a course at Columbia’s Teachers College. She has her own private practice in New York and lectures worldwide.
She is the author of 36 books, the latest of which is Dr. Ruth’s Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver and 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 new low-alcohol wine, Dr. Ruth’s Vin D’Amour can now be purchased and a one-woman show about her life, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” has played in the Berkshires, Hartford and off-Broadway. Dr. Westheimer has two children, four grandchildren and resides in New York City.