Yair Cherki, a religious affairs reporter for Israel’s N12, came out as gay via posts on his various social media accounts. Cherki comes from a religious background, and his father is a well-known religious leader, Rabbi Uri Cherki. We encourage you to take a moment to read the important and moving words of Cherki:
“I write these words shaking, postponing for tomorrow. For next week, for after the holidays. Maybe it’s been ten years since I’ve been writing and erasing. But now I am thirty years old. And I write not because I have the strength to write but because I have no power to stay silent.
I love men. I Love men and love god. It is not contradictory, and it is nothing new. I am the same person I was; the only difference is that it is not only me who knows now, you know, too. It was important for me to say this publically, even though it is a private matter. To live neither in the shadows nor in hiding. To truly live.
I live the conflict between my sexual preference and my faith all the time. Some have solved the conflict for themselves by saying that there is no god, while others explain that there is no homosexuality. I know both exist. And I try to reconcile this contradiction within myself in various ways. These are things between god and me.
This is neither a fashion nor a trend nor a political statement. It is simply me. It’s another part of who I am and who I have been since the day I made up my mind. My community is still the religious community. This is my tribe, and this is my family and friends. These are my beliefs. They did not change but took shape over the years alongside the doubt and complexity.
I know that this truth I shared here saddens people dear to me whom I love very much. I hope you find a place in your soul that allows you to discuss this properly and understand that this step was made after deep thought and consideration. Your sorrow, perhaps, also stems from a lack of understanding of what I am actually talking about here. I tried to ignore it for years. Then push. And repress. And treat. I do not regret any attempt and effort; maybe without these attempts, I would not have been able to reach my conclusions—it is just a shame that it took so long.
And now: family.”
As a response to Cherki’s statement, Havruta congratulated Cherki and said:
“It is moving to read Yair’s coming out of the closet post. The connection between religious and LGBT identities, which Yair describes, is at the core of what we do. The life of religious LGBT people is not easy, and we congratulate Yair for his courage and honesty, and happy that he took another step to show that we are here. Religious LGBT people – come out of the closet. Be who you are. No one can tell you otherwise.”
Thank you, Yair, for your beautiful words. And thank you, Havruta, Bat- Kol and Shoval for the life-saving work you do by increasing LGBTQ acceptance and inclusion in the religious communities in Israel.