Yair Cherki grew up in a national religious community in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, where his father, Ori, is the community’s rabbi and a lecturer at the well-known Machon Meir Torah School. He served in the military as a religious affairs reporter for Army Radio and was hired in the same capacity at Channel 12 shortly after his military discharge in 2014. In Israel, Cherki is a respected reporter and a colleague of mine with whom we occasionally have coffee next to our editorial office in downtown Jerusalem.
We decided to fully translate Cherki’s post. As a devout Jew, he speaks of his personal conflict between God and his homosexual love for men:
“I write these words with trembling. Always put those words off until tomorrow. To the next week. After the holidays. After the next birthday. This year or next year. I’ve been writing this for maybe ten years and then deleting what I’ve written. Because of the hurt I do to my very beloved father and mother, and the hurt of the community I grew up in and still love. But now I’m 30-years-old. And I don’t write because I have the strength to write, but because I don’t have the strength to die. And for my son who has not yet been born.
“I love men. Yes I love men and I love the Holy God. That’s not a contradiction and it’s not new either. I am exactly the same as I was, only now I not only know it for myself, but you do too. It was important for me to say this in this public place, even though it is a private matter. I don’t want to live in the shadows or in hiding. I really want to live in a family and a home – really live.
“I live the conflict between this sexual preference and belief in my God all the time. Some have resolved the conflict for themselves by saying that there is no God, others declare that homosexuality does not exist. I know of myself, of my flesh, that both exist. And I try to reconcile this contradiction within me in all possible ways. These are things between man and God.
“And what’s between a man and his boyfriend and the society he lives in is: It’s not a fad, it’s not a trend, it’s not a political statement, it’s just me. I don’t know if I would call it an identity. Just another thing that’s part of who I am and who I’ve been since the day I made my decision. In the Torah school, in the family, at work. My community is still the same religious community. This is my tribe, these are my family and friends. Those are my beliefs. They haven’t changed, but they have taken shape as doubts over the years. Added to this is the pressure that forces a different view of belief and truth and complexity.
“I know that this truth that I am sharing with you here saddens people who are dear to me and who I love very much. And I know they love me. I hope these people will find a place for me in their hearts. And also understand that this step was taken after careful thought and consideration. Your sadness may also stem from the fact that you don’t really understand what I’m actually talking about here. A false thought of temptation or war with my inclination that needs to be subdued. It made me sad at first. I’ve tried to ignore it, push it away, or seek treatment for years. I do not regret any attempt or effort, perhaps without these attempts I would not have come to this result. Just a shame about the past time I wasted. And now I have to take care of my family.”
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.