Brigstocke apologises for Jewish joke

Marcus mistook myth for fact

Marcus Brigstocke has apologised for joking about Orthodox Jews having sex through a sheet.

In an interview this week he was asked if he had discovered any religious trivia while researching his book The God Collar, which is about atheism.

He told Metro newspaper: ‘Orthodox Jews make love to each other though a hole in a sheet, which other than a Halloween night prank seems a bit ridiculous to me.’

However, the story is a myth with anti-semitic roots – and Brigstocke was quick to apologise when his error was pointed out.

In a letter in the paper today, he said: ‘I gave a thoughtless and poorly researched answer to a question regarding religious trivia.

‘I’ve learnt that this is not the case and I truly regret my error. I would like to apologise to anyone who felt offended by my mistake and assert clearly that the answer I gave has no basis in truth.’

It’s thought the myth originated because of the tallit prayer shawl, which is about the size of a small sheet and has a hole in the centre for the head to go through. People unfamiliar with the faith may have seen the garments drying on a line and leapt to conclusions, especially if they already held the prejudice that Jewish people were somehow weird. In fact, Judaism not only allows sex for pleasure but celebrates it as a holy act.

Published: 1 Jul 2011

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