Zehorit Sorek, from the Israeli lesbian religious group Bat Kol, recently attended the Limmud conference in England, where she discussed her ten-year fight for LGBT rights in Israel.
Zehorit indicated that she and fellow activists feel the problem with LGBT rights in Israel is a social one, rather than a Halachic one.
As an activist, her role is twofold: one aspect of her work is to communicate with the religious community to lobby for greater acceptance of LGBT Israelis in religious life, and the other is to raise awareness among members of the public.
Her most visible campaign, titled ‘Our Faces’, targets young, in-the-closet Israelis who perceive a contradiction between religious observance and homosexuality. A Wider Bridge raised $5,000 for this “Our Faces” campaign, which put a public face on LGBTQ Orthodox Israelis.
She and her partner, Limor, were forced to establish their own place of worship in their home city of Tel Aviv, after a minority of members of their previous shul took exception to their decision to have a marriage Kiddush at the synagogue.
But when they left, they took many other members with them, including a number of heterosexual couples.
The next frontier for Mrs Sorek is the abolition of conversion therapy – or the ‘pray the gay away’ practice – in Israel.