Westheimer ruthlessly scans Israel &mdash for a man

jerusalem | Dr. Ruth is looking for love in Israel. In Ruth Westheimer’s quest for a new partner, she is waltzing to French music, dining on fish by the Mediterranean and sipping coffee in Tel Aviv cafes. Although one date this week did not set off fireworks, the twice-divorced and once-widowed sexologist has high hopes for another meeting later in the week.

“I want to show the world that even though I am 76, I do not give up,” Westheimer said by phone from her Tel Aviv hotel as she watched the sun set over the sea. “You should make sure that you are out there … don’t be desperate, do something you like.”

Dr. Ruth has made no secret about her intentions. She has appeared on several radio and TV programs during her current three-week visit, drawing flirtations from a number of callers. She quickly dismissed one man who admitted he was married.

Westheimer’s chosen man should be over 65, interesting, Jewish, have a sense of humor and “joie de vivre,” she said. He doesn’t have to have money, nor does he have to be as “energetic crazy” as she is, Dr. Ruth said.

The man should also have interests in life, although they don’t have to be the same as hers, like chess, she said.

On a blind date, Westheimer danced two waltzes before treating the prospective man to a fish dinner in the romantic Old City of Jaffa. But she still has not found the right man, she said. Soon she will have coffee with another Israeli man, she said.

As part of her visit, Westheimer met a famous Jerusalem rabbi, expecting to receive a special blessing to aid her in her quest. But Rabbi David Batzri only offers blessings to those who have already found their matches, she said.

The rabbi did give her information for a course on the Jewish family that she teaches at Princeton University, Dr. Ruth said. Israeli society, like the United States, has become much more open to discussing sex in recent decades, she pointed out.

Dr. Ruth has married and divorced twice, and her third husband died seven years ago. The diminutive author of 27 books says the Sept. 11 terror attacks taught her the value of a life partner.

The German native was saved from the Holocaust when her parents sent her, at the age of 10, to a Swiss school. Much of her family perished in the war, but Westheimer immigrated to Israel as a teenager and was later seriously wounded fighting in the country’s War of Independence.

Dr. Ruth said she visits the country every year since it was the only country that would take her in after World War II.

She moved to the United States in 1956 and got her doctorate on the interdisciplinary sudy of the family at Columbia University. She started her first radio call-in show in New York in 1980. Currently she resides in New York City.