Orthodox gay group holds 1st Shabbat in J'lem

The group, Havruta, aims to provide forum that is comfortable for members of the gay religious community.

By
March 3, 2013 02:57
1 minute read.
Pride flags being waved next to Israeli flags

Gay Pride flags 370. (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Havruta, an association of religious homosexuals in Israel, held a communal Shabbat event in Jerusalem for the first time this weekend.

The group organized a Friday night prayer service at the residence of one of the members, followed by a number of separate Shabbat meals hosted by at various locations.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Although the turnout was relatively small, with just 15 men attending, the organizers expressed satisfaction with the initiative, stating it was another step in helping gay religious people feel there are others similar to them and that they are not alone.

The organization now intends to hold a similar event once a month in the capital.

Havruta chairman Daniel Jonas said that it was natural for different communities to coalesce around a synagogue and organized community, which often act as a social hub as well, and that this was one of the goals behind the new program.

He also emphasized that the goal was not to distance themselves from the general religious community, but to provide a regular forum for a Shabbat atmosphere that is more comfortable for members of the gay religious community.

“It’s only once a month, so we’re not cutting ourselves off and we’ll continue to go to our regular synagogues and services as well,” Jonas told The Jerusalem Post.



“We don’t think it is desirable to separate ourselves, but on the other hand Shabbat services can also be sometimes uncomfortable when people come up to you and ask you why you’re not married, or if they can introduce you to a girl, and things like that.”

Jonas noted that about a third of the attendees had not been to a Havruta event before, and some of them had not yet acknowledged to friends and family that they were gay.

“It does require courage to come to an event like this, but because it’s a smaller type of function it makes it easier in some respects, and it is also why we held it at a private residence, because it provides a more anonymous setting and a sense of security too,” he explained.

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD