Italicized text copyright © 2003 by "Forward"
With 12 million Americans tuning in daily, controversial syndicated radio-show host Laura Schlessinger — known to all as "Dr. Laura" — is arguably the best-known Orthodox Jew in the United States.
Rather, she was.
In a shocking if little-noticed revelation, Schlessinger — who very publicly converted to Judaism five years ago — opened "The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Program" on August 5 with the confession that she will no longer practice Judaism. Although Schlessinger said she still "considers" herself Jewish, "My identifying with this entity and my fulfilling the rituals, etc., of the entity — that has ended."
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Dr. Laura's avowal of Orthodox Judaism had an exotic appeal to her overwhelmingly Fundamentalist-Christian fan base. Their principal attraction, of course, was to her strident right-wing advocacy on social issues.
Dr. Laura often complained that Jews did not stick up for her in political controversies. She is much more comfortable with Fundie Christians, but that does not necessarily mean she will publicly adhere to a church. As Randall Terry could tell her, church membership can backfire.