October 26th, 2014
I was halfway through my year teaching English in Israel when my cohort toured the Jerusalem Belz community. We were walking around with one of the rabbis who lived in this community his entire life. The rabbi was showing us the synagogues, divulging his opinions on his way of life, and discussing his family traditions; he explained that when his five daughters eventually turned seventeen, respectively, a matchmaker would “marry them off”. He proudly explained that they would not learn about sex until their wedding night. “That is the night my daughters will have sex for the first time and hopefully become pregnant.” A fire was lit within me. My hand shot up and the rabbi nodded my way. In that moment, I wished these young women had access to any of the digital media tools that exist to educate themselves; how different would their lives be? “What if your daughters are not ready to be mothers?” I said aloud. “Shouldn’t they feel in control of their own bodies?” The rabbi raised his brow: “No. They have no choice. This is how it goes.”
As a woman with an Orthodox Jewish Afghani father, I understand that every parent has their own culture, traditions, and way of raising their children which can bring great value and uniqueness to their kids’ lives—I also acknowledge that this rabbi’s belief is not specific to Orthodox Judaism. In my everyday conversations at home in San Francisco, I often hear stories in which young women are ordered and expected to think and behave in certain ways regarding the agency of their own bodies. Simultaneously being raised by a mother who is an OBGYN exposed me to a world where women’s rights are paramount. My unique upbringing leads me to question: what if unchallenged principles prevent young women (and people) from making healthy decisions? This quintessential dilemma is what drives me. With an extensive background as a musician, a film degree from UC Berkeley, and years of youth development experience, my answer to how health and sex education content can be disseminated is as evident as it is powerful: the Sex Ed with DB Podcast.
Sex Ed with DB is an intersectional, feminist podcast for folks who want to hear real stories from 5 Bay Area voices as we try to revolutionize the way we talk about sex! We cover topics from sex education and how we talk about sex, to STIs, safe sex, and feeling good, to gender and sexuality on a spectrum, to consent and rape culture, to kink and flirting, and more. We are unafraid to discuss these important topics and want our listeners to be able to learn from the stories our voices share. Everyone deserves to have the knowledge and information to empower themselves to make the right choices for them. Everyone deserves to be told “you are perfect the way you are.” Everyone deserves to have the tools to fight oppression and sexism. Sex Ed with DB offers these tools, insights, and stories in a creative, bold, and bright way—because “This is how it goes” just ain’t gonna cut it.
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Danielle Bezalel is a UC Berkeley grad (go bears!) who holds a degree in Film and Media and a minor in Education. She is the creator, producer, and host of Sex Ed with DB: an intersectional, feminist podcast for folks who want to hear real stories from 5 Bay Area voices as we try to revolutionize the way we talk about sex. Sex Ed with DB is currently fundraising for a Season 2; if you'd like to donate, please email their team at firstname.lastname@example.org. When Danielle is not podcasting, she is singing and gigging with her SF based, Folk/Americana band called Happnstance, workin' on her fitness at the gym, or traveling somewhere new! Email her at email@example.com to hear more about her story.