Friday, March 11, 2011

Meet My Shiloh Neighbor: Rabbi Araleh Harel

He figures prominently in this Haaretz story:

Israeli rabbis launch initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women ­

Seems that "Rabbis from the religious Zionist community have launched an initiative to marry gay men to lesbian women - with some surprising successes."

And my neighbor?


...All the matches were arranged by Rabbi Areleh Harel of the Benjamin region community of West Bank settlement Shiloh. He teaches at a yeshiva in Elon Moreh and has a name in religious circles as the go-to rabbi for homosexuals.

Harel said all his couples receive close support from a team of psychologists, marriage counselors and social workers. They also consult frequently with rabbis, including Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan Yaakov Ariel, and especially Rabbi Menachem Burstein, head of the Puah Institute, which specializes in halakhic solutions to fertility problems.

His 12th couple has just announced their engagement, Harel said, and he has a list of another 30 gays and 20 lesbians seeking matches. They don't deny their sexual identity, he stressed, but "they want to establish a home, whether for the sake of becoming parents or for the social recognition. A family isn't just sex and love. It's an instrumental partnership, though not just a technical one."

As a result, he and his colleagues have now decided to institutionalize the venture, including working with a well-known religious matchmaking organization.

...Harel explained that while secular homosexuals see gay marriage as the solution, religious homosexuals are often unwilling to violate the halakhic prohibition on homosexual sex, and are thus seeking other solutions.

"Most of the couples agree not to have relationships with members of their own sex, but if there are 'lapses' once every few years, they don't see this as a betrayal," he said. "Generally, it's between them and their Creator."

...Two of the couples Harel married are now in the process of divorce. And he said he is very worried about whether the children of these experimental marriages will end up suffering. Nor does everyone approve. While Havruta has not officially taken a stand on these marriages, its spokesman, Daniel Yunes, said he personally opposes the idea...

Not what you thought about a Rabbi from across the Green Line, eh?



Juniper in the Desert said...

This is a totally brilliant idea! Not only will they produce lots of lovely new Jewish babies, they may well stop being gay. I know of people this has happened to!

txt.stelle said...

Dear Ymedad,

thanks for posting this story.

I am a Journalist from Germany and I´d like to meet Rabbi Areleh Harel for an article.

Do you habe his email-adress or phonenumber? I would be very happy if you could send it to me to my email:

Sorry for posting this personal request in the comments. But I didn´t find a way to write you a private message.

Toda raba.