Areleh Harel: The Orthodox Rabbi Helping Gay Men to Marry Lesbians
Six years ago, Areleh Harel, an Orthodox rabbi from the West Bank, devised a plan to help an Orthodox Jewish gay man fulfill his dream of becoming a husband and father while keeping him in good standing with the Jewish law and his community of believers. The solution: Marry him to a lesbian.
Through a friend, Harel found an Orthodox lesbian who also wanted a traditional family. Within a year, the couple married. They now have two children. No one suspects they are gay. Since that first arrangement, Harel has matched 13 gay-lesbian couples. (See why gay-marriage still isn’t marriage for the religious.)
Until this spring, a handful of people knew of his matchmaking project. Then Harel mentioned it during a panel discussion in Jerusalem on gay rights. A local reporter wrote about it and the news went viral.
Many gay leaders criticized the marriages, calling them deceitful and repressive. But several prominent rabbis supported Harel, calling his work a mitzvah or good deed. As the news spread, Harel’s phone began ringing. Orthodox gay men were calling to ask: Could this be right for me? Read ArticleBy Cindy E. Rodríguez