In new data revealed by the New York Public Library, Shmuley Boteach’s bestselling book, “Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy” was listed as the most checked out non-fiction book in Crown Heights this past summer. The NYPL includes the libraries of New York City’s five boroughs, and in its report on the section of Brooklyn that houses the center for Chabad Jewry in America, the book by Boteach, topped the list, according to local news website DNAinfo.
Boteach, named Preacher of the Year by British newspaper The Times and one of America’s fifty most influential rabbis three years in a row by Newsweek, is a somewhat controversial figure known for his radio and TV shows and his relationship with various celebrities, including Michael Jackson.
Rabbi Boteach is currently running for the US House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 9th District against incumbent Democrat Bill Pascrell. Kosher Sex, first published in 1999, is a book that speaks openly about intimacy in a community that largely eschews frank discourse on sexual matters.
The popularity of the Jewish book came as a surprise to resident Peter Cohen, 39, because of the predominance of African-American and Caribbean families in the area. “I figured it would be [a book for] Haitians or Jamaicans,” Cohen said. “Sounds interesting, I’m going to check it out.”
In Queens, another book about Judaism, Deborah Feldman’s “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hassidic Roots,” was a frequently borrowed title as well, according to an anecdotal survey. Ms. Feldman has been featured on The View and her book recounts shifts in her religious and communal belief systems.