Gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews had their first float in the 18th Tel Aviv Pride parade on June 10.

Members of the Havruta gay men’s association, the Bat Kol lesbian association, and the
Pride Minyan prayer group rode on a float sponsored by Google Israel and played Hasidic music to the crowds.

“Seven years ago, a gay or lesbian Orthodox person had three options — to stop being religious, to stay in the closet … or to commit suicide, which is something that happened, whereas today we are in a very different situation,” Havruta spokesman David Jonas told journalists.

A week before the parade, the first boy from a same-sex parented family was bar mitzvahed in a Tel Aviv Orthodox synagogue, with both mothers recognised as the boy’s parents.

“We felt like we belong, like we have a place,” the boy’s biological mother Zehorit Sorek said.

Last year, nearly 90 Orthodox rabbis called for greater inclusivity of Orthodox gays and lesbians in a joint Statement of Principles on the place of Jews with a Homosexual orientation in our community which called for “human beings with same-sex attractions and orientations” to be treated with “dignity and respect”.

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