August 16th, 2011
05:31 PM ET

Meet 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.

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.

Read the full story at Time.com
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Gay marriage • Gay rights • Judaism

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Win WinSit

    Religion NEVER did in any case condemn GAYS but ONLY the ACT of it. The bible only prohibits a man to sleep with a man and a woman to sleep with a woman.

    In their case, they keep going with their life as gays while maintaining the standard of religion. And the most important part is they're HAPPY.

    They are happy and I think everybody should be happy for them, except you're a poor and miserable person.

    This a Win Win Situation.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • Win WinSit


      August 17, 2011 at 3:13 am |
    • Colin

      That's like saying "religion did not condemn food, just the act of eating it. You apologists for Bronze age mythology know no bounds.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:26 am |
    • William Demuth

      A Christian promoting associations based on lies?

      How typical.

      At least if this works, preachers actually could get married, and still keep their little boys on the side.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • dejavu

      They wil never ever be happy because you can not sin with a happy heart. You wil always be unhappy until the Lord makes you free from that lie of the devil.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • Fred

      I agree with you. You couldn't have said it better!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Win WinSit


      FOOD?! Really?!

      To remind you that a-n-a-l-o-gy may doesn't have the complete equivalence but at least it has a resemblance on to thing being subst-i-tu-ted.

      I would suggest that you should think a better one, your misery becomes so obvious that you make rat k-il-ler as subst-i-tu-tes for your children when they aske for candies.


      L-i-es? How can it be, when they're so open with their feelings about it?

      And with the priest, at least..there ain't any law (of the land) that barred them from getting married. So why not, coconut?


      How did you know that it's a lie? Bigotry and hypocrisy at its best, huh?

      Read the bible that you may learn that it's not good to judge your fellow.


      Good to know that there's a happy person in here like you that has the capacity to feel the happiness of other people. God speed buddy.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Nurse Johnson

      Should be read: subst-i-t-ute for candy when your children ask for it.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:19 am |
  2. Mark from Middle River

    Wasn't this a episode of Will and Grace? 🙂

    August 17, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  3. KP

    @ faith. Wow. your still a mis guided deluded individual. I bet you have a white cone hat in your closet and a portrait of hitler in your living room. Why cant you accept diversity? Why is it so hard for you to see beyond your own misguided opinions to find love for other people.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • Faith

      @KP, what do you know about life or love, Sodomite? All you've got is lust. Your pride is your filth. Gays need help. Leave them alone so they can be rescued, instructed and nurtured by the religious.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Faith

      @KP, Diversity is for stuff like races not for immoral lifestyles. Evil cultures such as perversion, infanticide, child-abuse and slavery of women must be fought against until the Kingdom comes.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      PERVERSION: Lot had a drunken, incestuous or.gy with his daughters. God considered him to be the only righteous man in Sodom and Gomorrah.
      INFANTICIDE: God commanded Jephthah to burn his daughter alive at the stake as a sacrifice.
      CHILD ABUSE: God sent bears to maul children for making bald jokes at Elisha's expense.
      SLAVERY OF WOMEN: Hagar, a slave, is given to Abraham by his wife so that he might impregnate her.

      Seems like your favourite book sactions all those things you don't like!

      August 17, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Faith

      @Doc-, #1: Lot was called righteous before the incident happened. His daughters who were educated in Sodom did wrong to him. #2: Jephthah did it on his own out of his stupidity. She was not burnt alive. #3 Bears tear down uncareful humans all the time. Kids who heed no warning get accidents all the time. Kids are morally responsible as well. #4: Sarah did it on her own accord because of her culture. God neither ordered or condone it. He had mercy on everyone.

      Doc-, how did you pass any literature class without reading the whole text? Your hatred against Christianity is insane. Leave your nation because Christians made it for Christians.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Nurse Johnson


      You must be an atheist to make such flagrant distortion of the bible texts.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Nurse Johnson
      Flagrant distortions?
      Let's go through the actual Bible passages, one by one.

      "Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father." Genesis 19:32-36

      That sure sounds like drunken incest to me.

      "And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
      When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! And he let her go for two months. After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin."
      – Judges 11:29

      So Jephthah bartered with God to slaughter his enemies, which God did.
      Being omnipotent, God knew perfectly well what price Jephthah would pay.
      Had God NOT wanted the blood of a young virgin, he could have stopped Jephthah the same as He stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son.
      I will concede that this wasn't infanticide since she was a teenager.

      "Then he (Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!” When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number."
      – 2 Kings 2:23

      God's Prophet goes out a preachin' and a couple of kids taunt him.
      The Prophet uses his divine connection to curse the brats.
      God sends bears to maul not only the mouthy kids, but dozens of others as well.
      I'd say that qualifies as child abuse.

      "Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence."
      – Genesis 16

      The relationship is very clear: Sarai is the mistress and Hagar is the slave. Hagar has no say when it comes to her own body and is forced into the role of surrogate mother. Once the child is born, Hagar makes the mistake of forgetting her place and gets uppity, much to Sarai's chagrin. Abraham reminds his wife that she doesn't have to take any guff from a lowly slave girl and Sarai proceeds to treat Hagar like dirt.
      This would be an example of the slavery of women. S.ex slavery, to be precise.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Carl Saga

      Seems like your favourite book sactions all those things you don't like!


      The bible neither authorised nor support any of such you have quoted and mentioned. It only records, tells and presents everything that must be written, told and presented the way they happened.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  4. Faith

    Gay supporters are more evil than gays. Gays need realistic help and those filthy supporters get in ways. Romans chapter 1 says it all.

    August 17, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • gupsphoo

      Look at the bigotry of these brainwashed Christians.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      you poor delusional thing!! Wake up and get with the times...being Gay is not a disease or a choice. Your bible lies to you and you are too close minded to see that. Do you also fall for the parts where it tells you that beating your children is okay?

      August 17, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Faith

      @T-, the Bible is good and true. You guys are perverts.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Faith: REALLY???? The burden of proof now lies on you and without using scripture or your own delusions and with solid physical evidence, please provide the proof...until you can do that you belong in an asylum to be treated for your mental illness. Get over yourself...you are the worst kind of sky-daddy loving freak out there and extremely damaging to society.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  5. LinCA

    If anyone needed anymore evidence of why religion is evil, look no further than the reasons behind this match-making.

    August 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Win WinSit

      "Evidence why religiuon is evil" How can it be? Would you mind sharing real ideas instead of this gibberish?

      August 17, 2011 at 2:46 am |
    • LinCA

      @Win WinSit

      From the article:
      "This kind of technical relationship, it is not based on love, and I do believe that if the parents don't love each other, the kids will feel it. It's not healthy for the kids or for their parents to live like this."
      "The condemnation of homosexuality in Orthodox communities in Israel has historically been so strong that many gay Orthodox Jews have felt they had two choices: remain in the closet or stop being religious."
      "I had a crisis with God," Josh said. "I felt like God screwed me."

      Demonizing and ostracizing gays and lesbians because of delusional beliefs is beyond reprehension.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  6. Faith

    How wise! The Jews win again! Yes, the ho-mo-se-x-uality has everything to do with the way of thinking. Nothing to do with orientation.

    August 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      burn the book of lies once and for all please! you are so uneducated in the reality of the situation. being gay is not a choice, it is human genetics...you either are or you're not. what is a choice is whether or not they admit it and unfortunately people like you are the ones who make it hard for them to admit it and are the reason so many are just coming forward...they are coming out of the dark ages, what is your excuse?

      August 17, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Faith

      @T-, those generic ones are a way few and they can be helped. The vast majority of g-a-y-s have willful immoral choice. Villains hate the Bible for all time everywhere.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Faith.. we could say to, that belief in god is a mental disorder...but you can helped...

      August 18, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @Faith: you are not a mentally healthy individual. Gays have as many rights as you or I do and you are not the one to judge them for what they feel. Education is first and foremost in understanding this. My gay friends are wonderful people who would give the shirt off their back; their last dollar...if it meant helping a friend or someone in need.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  7. Martin T

    all in the name of religion... wow

    August 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  8. Awkward Situations

    Come on guys, it's sort of like 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith'! Instead of going out and as-sas-sinating people while maintaining a facade of marriage, they will be going out and having hot se-x with whomever they want while maintaining a facade of marriage.

    Plus, the rabbi gets paid for his matchmaking service. Everyone wins!

    August 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      Interesting comparison. Oh wait, this isn't a movie is it.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  9. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    Wow, sad when people have to go through all this trouble because of religion.

    August 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • SchizoAndNothingElse

      Trouble? REAALLLYYYY???!!!!

      The article said: "A local reporter wrote about it and the news went viral."

      If that's your take, but but for me it's called instant fame. S-C-H-I-Z-O!

      August 17, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Try to focus and think about what I posted.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • SchizoAndNothingElse

      How about convincing yourself to make a post based on the article next time?

      August 18, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  10. Pekkar Lipschitz

    Leave it to religion to come up with the most perverse "solution" to a "problem" that only exists because some people still believe in stone age Middle-Eastern ignorant delusions.

    August 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  11. tallulah13

    When will people learn that it's okay to be gay? When will religion catch up with reality and stop playing games like this? Stop punishing people for being born different.

    August 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  12. not cool

    very confusing!!!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • hong kong

      I knew this was coming, this is what happens when people start to confuse S8x with how God originally intended it be ..

      August 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  13. ???

    Wonder if at sometime these people will find ou it is great to be straight? Naw, they only understand their kind of lovemaking not the real thing.

    August 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  14. OMG

    This Rabbi has been drinking something forbidden, or he is really stupid, or, or maybe he is really Catholic? Got'a keep pumping those rugrats out.

    August 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  15. Bo

    ======@ Reallity: NO! Reallity, this is gay–lesbian adultry, and condoned adultry at that–by the Rabi!

    August 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  16. Bo

    So, if I get this right, a gay and lesbian are married, but only on paper, they have other partners of their own gender, and they have kids. (There must be a little footsie play sometime.) OK, who takes care of the kids–O' I see: they all live in the same house! This way nobody is really knows what is happening–that is until the innocent kids start talking.

    August 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  17. DamianKnight

    Ummm...ok. Awesome. 🙂

    August 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  18. goodgood

    Good Job Rabbi with the matching and hatching!!!! wishing you more success!

    August 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  19. Reality

    So a g-ay guy marries a g-ay gal and they have children or maybe not. So based on the new New York law, this prevents/allows the g-ay guy from marryring a ga-y guy? Ditto for the gals? But if either have se-xual relations with another ga-y or str-aight person, would that not be ad-ultery under Jewish/secular law? Stranger than strange!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Is this not a form of gay-straight polygamy??

      August 16, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  20. Reality

    So a g-ay guy marries a g-ay gal and they have children or maybe not. So based on the new New York law, this prevents/allows the g-ay guy from marryring a ga-y guy? Ditto for the gals? But if either have se-xual relations with another ga-y or straight person, would that not be adultery under Jewish/secular law? Stranger than strange!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.