MembersBeing Gay in the Holy City

Israel Today speaks with an LGBT leader in Jerusalem, as well as a gay rabbi leading the fight for inclusivity

By David Lazarus | | Topics: LGBT
Being gay in religious Jerusalem
Gay pride parade in Jerusalem. Yes, there are even gay religious Jews. Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Jerusalem has a growing gay community now coming out in regular gay pride marches, events, and they keep winning court cases protecting their rights. How does this community relate to Jerusalem, the heart of biblical faith?

I meet with Alon Shachar, Executive Director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance that was founded in 1997. Alon is a confident and proud member of Jerusalem’s gay community. “We organize gay activism, provide professional medical and psychological care for the gay community, and provide a place to meet each other outside of the nightlife,” he says.

The center receives financial support from the Jerusalem Municipality. This was a surprise to me given that more than 80% of the city’s population identify as religious, with over 31% as Orthodox Jewish.

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