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Valentine’s Day Stories

Ancient Jewish aphrodisiacs, Dr. Ruth’s advice, and a Jerusalem love story

Stephanie Butnick
February 13, 2015

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and while it’s no Tu B’Av, it’s enough of a cultural presence that its hard to ignore. Plus, we’ve got enough love-themed stories on Tablet to keep you busy through the weekend, and maybe even until Purim.

Start with the latest episode of Israel Story, which features four not-exactly love stories. There’s a husband and wife in their sixties looking back at their 37 years together, an Israeli and a Palestinian confronting the barriers to love, the twists and turns of an arranged marriage in Tulkarm, and an eavesdropping neighbor following along with the matchmaking quest of the tenant downstairs.

There’s also Dr. Ruth’s Valentine’s Day Advice: “Valentine’s Day is really short for St. Valentine’s Day, so Jews don’t have to pay as much attention—but if you meet the right partner at the deli counter, go for it.”

How about some ancient Jewish aphrodisiacs to spice up Valentine’s Day, or any Shabbat? “Biblical foods that are considered aphrodisiacs and still exist in our kitchens today include: cheese, mustard, apples, figs, nuts, grapes, salmon, red wine, olive oil, honey, pomegranates, eggs, oats, and milk.”

The residents of Los Angeles Jewish Home share some advice with a lovelorn millennial. The best part of the video is one man’s exasperated question, “Facebook friend request? What the hell is that?”

For those staying in this weekend and attempting hibernation as the weather drops (or, you know, celebrating Valentine’s Day), Rachel Shukert has a list of movies to watch that aren’t made by Woody Allen. Her suggestions include Heartburn, Exodus, and Broadcast News.


Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.