The Rabbi and the Centerfold, Part 2
Her views on other Playmates
SB: So some of the other Playmates--
LV: They're not stupid, I'm not saying they're stupid--
SB: Yeah, but they fit the stereotype of women who are prepared to do almost anything to get ahead, is that right?
LV: Yes. Because that wasn't my goal when I did Playboy, it wasn't to try to get ahead. It was like if it was a steppingstone, great, and if it wasn't, guess what? I have a back-up plan. I never intended on doing Playboy. I lost a bet. My girlfriend said, "I know you can be in Playboy." I said "No way." You know my exact words? I don't fit that stereotype. I do not--I'm not like those girls. You know, I still don't fit the stereotype of them but, I mean, I am a Playmate.
LV: And I love all the girls that--I mean, I'm not belittling them or saying that I'm better than them because I would never say that. Because there's some stuff that I probably do wrong, too. But I mean, for the most part I--
SB: But there are lines that they cross that you would not cross, is that correct?
Comparing herself to Monica
SB: This is more of a flippant question, but is posing for Playboy a job for a nice Jewish girl?
LV: That's a one million dollar question. Because I posed for Playboy, am I not a nice Jewish girl anymore?
SB: Well, you know how people say that's not a job for a nice Jewish girl? What would you say to them?
LV: Look at what Chandra Levy is doing. And what was Monica Lewinsky doing?
SB: But they're not exactly the most respected people in America.
LV: No, and I think what they did was really negative compared to what I'm doing. I don't think I'm hurting anyone. I don't know. Trying to pay for an education so she doesn't have to depend on, you know, going over those lines to be successful. Because, you know, Hollywood isn't ultimately where I want to end up. If I end up there, great. If I don't, that's all right, I'll be happy.
SB: So you see posing for Playboy as a small compromise now which will save you from having maybe make big compromises later?
SB: Okay. Let me just tell you that you really do come across as a highly intelligent young woman. I'm going to tell you outright that I don't think you made the wisest decision and yet I think you can go on to do great things. The problem is that, you know, the form you chose to portray yourself in may not reflect that intelligence and integrity and may, indeed, undermine it. But anyway, I've enjoyed this interview very much and I hope you'll do great things with your life, G-d willing, that reflect what is best is you and that is not reflected in Playboy.
LV: I mean, you definitely made me think and now you've made me think I'm a bad person--
SB: No, I'm not saying you're a bad person at all, G-d forbid.
LV: You know, like you ask me, you know, when I go home and tell my rabbi, what is he going to say to me? And like I go visit--
SB: Listen, the job of a rabbi, I believe, is to try to bring out the best in people, that's all. And from the things that you have said in this interview, it seems to me that your best has not come out yet. That in doing the pictures, that's not the best part of you. So it's not going to be judgmental. I just think that you're selling yourself short. I mean, for example, I have to take issue with one thing you said earlier. You said that throughout history women were lower than men. That's not true. In Judaism they were always seen as higher. Women were seen as being naturally superior to men. You know, in our religion, the Sabbath is the bride of the week. The six days, you know, Sunday through Friday are the man of the week, and the Sabbath is much higher and much holier.
LV: Yeah, well I'm not saying that we come out below, but it just seems like--like I'm learning about Islam and Hinduism and these women aren't always treated as equal...It's in Christianity, it's in Judaism, it's in [Islam], Hinduism, it's in every single one of them.
SB: Whoa, whoa, just a second. I can't defend all the religions here. I'm not a priest. But I can defend Judaism. I would have to take issue with that portrayal of Judaism. But just let me say one thing. Do you remember that you just said that in the spiritual traditions, you know, like in Tantra, Yab needs Yom, to bring out its energy, Yin needs Yang to bring out its energy? Well, Judaism likewise sees women as having the power to redeem men.
So in other words, one of the things a woman is capable of, amazingly, is that men want women so much that they are prepared to become gentleman in order to get them. But if they just deliver themselves to men with the guy making no effort, if they just take off their clothes to excite the guy, then what incentive is there for a man to work on himself and become worthy of a woman?
SB: So, the question is, is posing in Playboy going to bring out the best in men or the best in you? That's the only question, its not a judgmental question. But it's a legitimate question, and I think that the answer to that is no.
LV: I just think of it as an accomplishment.
SB: If you cater to men's shallowness, is that the way in bringing out the best in them? Now...it's a question, not an allegation that you have done something wrong, you're not a criminal G-d forbid. You did not do what Monica Lewinsky did which was beyond nudity, she hurt another woman terribly.
LV: Right. It's like morals...but I didn't do anything like that.