From half-way around the world The Huffington Post brings us the story of Shahar Hadar, a young man in Jerusalem who has gone “from being a conflicted Orthodox Jew to a proud religious gay man – and drag queen.”
Cheers greet him in a packed gay bar as he starts to swivel to a Hebrew pop song, his shiny red lips mouthing lyrics that mean more to him than the audience knows: “With God’s help you’ll have the strength / To overcome and give your all.”
It has been a long and agonizing metamorphosis for Hadar, 34, from being a conflicted Orthodox Jew to a proud religious gay man – and drag queen. Most Orthodox Jewish gay men, like those in other conservative religious communities around the world, are compelled to make a devil’s bargain: marry a woman to remain in their tight-knit religious community, or abandon their family, community and religion to live openly gay lives.
But while Orthodox Judaism generally condemns homosexuality, there is a growing group of devout gay Jews in Israel unwilling to abandon their faith and demanding a place in the religious community.