Lights! Camera! Rabbi!
Shmuley Boteach on his new talk show.
Daytime television may soon be getting a little more exciting. This fall, Shmuley Boteach — the TV personality and Orthodox rabbi who isn’t afraid to talk very publicly and very explicitly about sex, intimacy and all things private — is hosting a new talk show, “Divine Intervention.”
In this case, Boteach is that divine intervention — on the show, produced in Toronto by Moses Znaimer, people facing major life challenges approach Boteach for one-on-one advice and counseling. And the vast majority of his advisees aren’t even Jewish.
“No subject is taboo; we deal with absolutely everything,” he told the
Forward. “The problems range from infidelity and divorce to platonic marriage, out- of- control kids, eating disorders, irrational fears, and Holocaust survivors who are being re- traumatized by a global surge in anti-Semitism and experiencing debilitating fear.”
Though Boteach does not have any formal training as a therapist, as a rabbi, he has counseled just about everybody: married people, singles, kids, parents, widows, single moms, single dads, gay men, gay women, atheists and agnostics. He’s fully aware that in a short counseling session — especially on TV — his guests likely won’t walk out as changed people with zero problems. He understands that he, alone, cannot make their struggles disappear. “I don’t think I can heal people in a short TV segment,” he said. “But I think that we can give them insights into what is motivating their behavior, a personal awakening where the person can begin to see why they’re doing what they’re doing.”
Despite the fact that Boteach’s two cents are meant to be some kind of divine intervention, “I’m not a voice