Dr. Ruth really has nothing but praise


At 92 years old in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer considers herself an endangered species. But the famed sex therapist has done her part to stay away from other people, and otherwise keep herself safe.

But how does Dr. Ruth stay busy during a pandemic? One has been focusing on a number of projects she had in motion since the beginning of the year. The other is to keep up with what’s happening in The Riverdale Press, reaching out from her upstate hideaway to sing the praises of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale for its drive-in visiting project featured by reporter Rose Brennan last week.

“I wanted you to get a message to David Pomeranz congratulating him on this ingenious idea,” Ruth told The Press about the Hebrew Home’s chief operating officer. “I was especially moved by that grandmother visiting her granddaughter’s son, and that she didn’t even have pictures, and now she does.”

The Hebrew Home put together the program in recent weeks as a way to allow residents there to visit family, but from a safe enough distance to where no one is at risk of infecting the other.

Dr. Ruth has been busy turning part of her childhood story — where she escaped Germany before her family was taken to a concentration camp during World War II — into a short animated feature for schools. Using some of the same animation that was used in the documentary about her last year, “Ask Dr. Ruth,” the icon has expanded that effort, using elements of the children’s book she co-wrote with Pierre A. Lehu in 2018, “Roller-coaster Grandma: The Amazing Story of Dr. Ruth.”

There isn’t much of anything slowing Dr. Ruth down right now. But if she ever did need the care of a nursing home, she says she’d look nowhere else except the Hebrew Home on Palisade Avenue. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s not far from one of her shuls — Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale.

“I would definitely apply to Mr. Pomeranz’s institution if I ever needed to,” Dr. Ruth said, “But not yet. I’m not ready yet. I might belong to an endangered species, but I continue to be very careful out there.”