|"orthodox" gay, "drag queen"|
Gay "Orthodox" Jewish man one of Israel’s few "religious" drag queens
Shahar Hadar, 34, is part of a growing cluster of devout-gay Jews in Israel. He is one of a few "religious" drag queens that perform on Israel's downtown circuit.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESSJERUSALEM — Just shy of midnight, Shahar Hadar trades his knitted white yarmulke for a wavy blond wig and a pink velvet dress.
Cheers greet him in a packed gay bar as he starts to swivel to a Hebrew pop song, his shiny red lips mouthing lyrics that mean more to him than the audience knows: "With God's help you'll have the strength / To overcome and give your all."
It has been a long and agonizing metamorphosis for Hadar, 34, from being a conflicted "Orthodox" Jew to a proud "religious" gay man - and drag queen. Most "Orthodox" Jewish gay men, like those in other conservative religious communities around the world, are compelled to make a devil's bargain: marry a woman to remain in their tight-knit religious community, or abandon their family, community and religion to live openly gay lives.
|On Tisha Bav|
"As much as I fled it, the "heavens" made it clear to me that that's who I am," Hadar said. He is marching Thursday - out of costume - in Jerusalem's annual gay pride parade.
Hadar, a telemarketer by day, has taken the gay "Orthodox" struggle from the synagogue to the stage, beginning to perform as one of Israel's few "religious" drag queens. His drag persona is that of a rebbetzin, a female rabbinic advisor - a wholesome guise that stands out among the sarcastic and raunchy cast of characters on Israel's drag queen circuit.
"She blesses, she loves everyone," said Hadar of his alter-ego, Rebbetzin Malka Falsche. The stage name is a playful take on a Hebrew word meaning "queen" and Hebrew slang for "fake." Her philosophy, and Hadar's, draws from the teachings of the Breslov Hasidic except the parts that the biggest misnaged in the world agrees with stream of ultra-Orthodox Judaism: embrace life's vicissitudes with joy.