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. John


    August 22, 2011 at 1:52 am |
  2. EvolvedDNA

    Dave Dawson.. Atheists are no more or less pompous than any one else.. including you. How can believing in a supernatural being suddenly make you less "pompous"..it is your att=itude of having all the answers but not having any evidence for any of them that we question. There is nothing other than a personal or traditional dislike of gay people that harm society. The religious movements have to have group that they dislike and gays are an easy target i guess...If you can give us reasons why gay people are so dangerous let us know.

    August 22, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  3. frenchie

    What does it matter what 2 consenting adults do behind closed doors? Let them get married, let them adopt children who will never have homes of their own, and most importantly, LET THEM LIVE THEIR LIVES IN PEACE.

    August 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  4. WilySword

    Some posters seem to be implying that the Rabbi is doing something wrong: some even go so far as to imply he is encouraging unfaithfulness by performing these marriages. In reading the article, I found nothing of the sort; and my limited knowledge of Orthodox Jews supports that conclusion. People who would choose such a life are not doing so just to be socially accepted, so they can have other "secret" relationships. At least, not all of them are. They are doing it because they believe it is right. Whether or not you agree with them is irrelevant, since their actions are not illegal. They are choosing, in essence, to not be gay. Maybe not everyone can make that choice. I, for one, applaud those who choose a difficult life in order to live true to their beliefs. Religious people and atheists alike could use more of that sort of integrity.

    August 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  5. DaisyNH

    "If you are not religious, you become evil. Always. Guaranteed."

    Hitler was a Christian! Go figure. Actually most of the wars in history revolved around religion. Some people will do some evil things in the name of God.

    August 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • cocoasmom

      I hate to use this oft repeated saying, but I will anyway. Calling yourself a Christian because you go to church, or you don't like Jews, or you are a white anti-semite doesn't make you a christian anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car.

      That is the lamest excuse for bashing Christians. By the way, have you seen the promos for Machine Gun Preacher?

      August 21, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • TellinTheTruth

      No, Hitler was not a Christian – in fact, he aggressively persecuted the church. Revisionist history always fails when confronted with the truth.

      August 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  6. Retios

    Faith your way of thinking sickens me.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  7. Alex

    This is so ridiculous it made me laugh. But well, these people requested to get married, and they have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies and minds. Let them be if it makes them happy, they're not harming anybody... hopefully.

    August 18, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Faith

      Being silent about other people's sins is a grave sin before God, just as not-reporting crimes is a crime itself. Besides, a single offender ends up destroying the society and lose a war. Read the Book of Joshua.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @Faith Where do you get the idea that being silent about someone elses sin is a sin? So do you think pointing the finger and judging someone else is not a sin?

      August 22, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  8. Tom


    August 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  9. Billy

    For Peace2All

    To your question and answer, the Bible is the only source that will, should, and will always be the reference for all things that we go through. What kills me is that people like you know the truth but that you want others to make you feel good aobut what you're doing, even if it is wrong. Not that I'm judging you in any way shape or form, but God says its wrong and thats all that matters. Does He (God) loves the sinners like us...YES, but He hates the sin. You want to know how to receive real eternal life? Then Repent, and ask God for forgiveness of your sins'.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Alex

      Well, I'm not judging you in any shape or form, but do you always use God as an excuse for judging others?

      August 18, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Way to prove me wrong with a big 'non-answer' without any tangible, verifiable proof.

      And, dude... 'please' learn to use the 'reply' button to stay within the conversational thread.


      August 18, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Ryan

      May we all unquestionably believe in a book written by men in the middle east as the all knowing word of the Lord. Amen.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • soysauce

      So should we fire all therapists and psychologists? Lots of people go to talk to them when they are going a tough time. I guess we don't need them since the Bible is the only thing we need.

      September 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  10. Faith

    Read Genesis 6 in the Bible. Living by filthy fantasies wipes out mankind.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Read Isaiah 3:18 in the bible.
      Egotistical women wind up bald, broke, and alone.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Faith

      @Doc-, you mean Isaiah 3:16-18. It's about the ancient Judah that backslided. Also about the regressing present America. Read the whole chapter. It's nothing to do with women. You are another Bible-illiterate misquoting the Bible.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  11. Faith

    God created men but He did not create their stupidity or their inclination to perversion.

    August 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • scorpdewd

      Yes Faith, when it comes to stupidity, look in the mirror.

      August 18, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • Faith

      @Scorp-, I'm not a man. I cannot be stupid like you even if I want to.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • Rick

      Is god not infallable? Are gay's god's mistake? Practical joke perhaps? Faith, you are a moronic ant, or bee. Don't believe everything you read. Especially that which was arguably written by non-spacially thinking men almost 2000 years ago.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  12. robert frost

    Creepy! the bigotry, that is. Since God created gays, why not respect God's creation?

    August 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Faith

      @Robert, Those who r-a-p-e children or family members or marry multiple women claim the same thing; born that way. But they all go to jail.

      August 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Alex

      I agree with you. It makes no sense how some religions claim to be so full of love but hate people that don't think the way they do. Sadly, religious fanatics always find a way around this kind of arguments, and use God as an excuse to hate on something they have a personal grudge against. They compare gays to pedophiles and killers like gays are hurting people.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Faith

      @Alex: Sin hurts humans. Ga-ys hurt themselves. They need fix in their sinful lifestyles, never endorsement or encouragement.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Amy

      @ Robert Frost, will you say the same for thieves and murderers and rapists and liars and scoundrels and fornicators and adulterers and cheats and all those things which you and I can be if we didn't struggle against our inclination to wrongs? God created us all (praised be He, always and forever), and we can be whatever we choose to be and yet not even our choice would not make what we become right...

      August 19, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  13. myweightinwords

    You know, I had a great uncle who was gay. At the time, there was no concept of same gender marriage or even that it was okay to be who you are. He married my great aunt because it was the thing to do. Neither one of them were ever happy in the marriage.

    He had a lover or two on the side the whole time they were married. He died in the early days of AIDS, before it was fully understood and recognized.

    Why would anyone want to set two people up to be miserable? This makes no sense to me.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  14. Fred

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

    August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  15. oh rabbi

    well, would have been a happy ending if the Rabbi had married these couples and they went on to find true happiness in each other..sigh..sigh....

    August 17, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  16. David Johnson

    Seems dumb to me. Why not just allow gay marriage and gay adoption? A non-existent god should not figure into any decision made in our secular, nation of laws. Gay marriage has no negative impact on society. It should be allowed.


    August 17, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Peace2All


      Agreed... Well said.


      August 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • jefe

      @David Johnson, "Gay marriage has no negative impact on society." How'd you work that one out? Is polygamy cool too? What about those FLDS guys who keep wanting to marry 12 year old girls? For that matter, ordinary hetero-marriage? What criteria were used to assess impact on society?


      August 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Jefe..In what way, other then a dislike for it, would you say gay marriage impacts society?

      August 18, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • Dave Dawson


      Are saying that congressman/lawmakers are non-existent gods.

      August 18, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Peace2All


      You Said: " @David Johnson, "Gay marriage has no negative impact on society." How'd you work that one out? Is polygamy cool too? What about those FLDS guys who keep wanting to marry 12 year old girls? For that matter, ordinary hetero-marriage? "

      You not only offered any specific counter-examples to -David's assertions, but you also committed a version by inference, of the classic "slippery slope" argument or violation.

      What does 'polygamy' or 'FLDS' have to do with what David said...?

      Unless you can provide any verifiable, tangible proof of 'harm' to society by gay marriage, other than "the bible says its bad" or "its icky"... 'your' argument is moot, at this point.



      August 18, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Dave Dawson

      "Seems dumb to me"

      Yeah you're right David, as you always do. It's dumb becoz it doesn't agree with your thoughts. You must be an atheist, a typical one.

      August 19, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Dave Dawson

      Apparently you disagree with -David Johnson, so i'm curious to see what you have to say as evidence to disprove his assertions...?


      August 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Dave Dawson


      "so i'm curious to see what you have to say as evidence to disprove his assertions...?"

      Sould I use the flying spaghetti monster and his noodly appendage? Should I use fable book of monkeys? I Guess NOT?

      WHY SHOULD I, in the very place? Did I quote "Why not just allow gay marriage and gay adoption?" from his post? Obviously, I did NOT!

      Definitely, I did not aim on David's "assertions", only on his pompousness. One of the attiudes atheists have.

      I think you're reading comprehension doesn't work as well as it should be. You may either take a vacation or you may just simply, Rest In.....(Go back on top)

      August 20, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • Dave Dawson

      your, instead of "you're"..sorry for other typos.

      August 20, 2011 at 4:50 am |
  17. Reality

    Is this not a form of gay-straight polygamy/adultery??-------------–

    August 17, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Realty

      You should have made a statement using an exclamation point.

      August 20, 2011 at 4:43 am |
  18. Deep North

    did this rabbi just promote a Bi=$exual relationship by doing this?

    August 17, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • tensor

      In bi-polar opposite. perennially immature and anti-intellectual America, the concept of in the middle on the Kinsey scale still doesn't resonate.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  19. William Demuth

    Unconsumated weddings are still considered tax fraud.

    The dear Rabbi belongs in prison.

    August 17, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • nsaaa

      @William Demuth: They have two children so, it doesn't seem to be a tax dodge to me.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Nonimus

      Tax fraud, really?
      Where is this done?

      August 17, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • mklsgl

      Not in Israel.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  20. JohnQuest

    This is so wrong on so many levels its hard to point out all the fallacies. Not being gay myself I am only speculating, but I thought being gay meant that a person is physically attracted to the same se-x. If that is true, then how are they happy if they are married to the opposite s-ex. It seems to me that this Rabbi is creating a culture of adulterers and seriously dysfunctional families. I know gay men that were married to women, on the surface (during the day) they seemed to be adjusted but at night they are looking for and finding what they can't get at home.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • derp

      " It seems to me that this Rabbi is creating a culture of adulterers and seriously dysfunctional families. I know gay men that were married to women, on the surface (during the day) they seemed to be adjusted but at night they are looking for and finding what they can't get at home."

      Looks like gay marriage is less detrimental to the "traditional family" that just allowing gays to marry. What this Rabbi is doing, and what these desperate people are agreeing is because religious nutbags have made it illegal for them marry who they want to.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Faith

      If you are not religious, you become evil. Always. Guaranteed.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:16 am |
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