What is "Anachnu?"
Anachnu is a match-making project, and the first of its kind which matches Torah observant gays with Torah observant lesbians, and vice-versa.
In this project, all of the cards are open, and without the lies, half-truths, and "mistakes," because both participants know very well the nature of the prospective spouse's orientation.
Anachnu is a project founded by Rabbi Arelah Harel and Kamoha – Gay Orthodox Jews (reg. non-profit org.). Rabbi Harel is a recognized expert in mediation, the former Head of the Shilo Yeshiva, and current lecturer at the Elon Moreh Yeshiva.
The goal of Anachnu is to assist Orthodox, gay and lesbian Jews to establish a family.
There are Orthodox gay men and there are Orthodox lesbians. This is a fact. Countless gays and lesbians have experienced all kinds of difficulties throughout their lives. It is clear that each person has his or her own unique story, hardship, and way of coping, each one's situation different from the next. Thus, the resolution of difficulties also varies from individual to individual: There are those who get married while hiding their sexual orientation, those who choose to remain single, those who cease living a of Torah and mitzvot, and there are those who make a life with a partner of the same sex (with or without Torah).
However, part of the central difficulty is the inability to establish a Jewish family, to merit being a mother or father in a traditional family. Some would like to be matched with someone of the opposite sex in the same situation (Read: A gay man with a lesbian, a lesbian with a gay man).
The reality is that Orthodox gay men and lesbians have already been turning to Kamoha, requesting that it try to match them up, gay men with lesbians, lesbians with gay men.
Because of the vast number of calls which have been flooding in, Kamoha has begun the process of trying to meet these demands. In the process of attempting to establish such a match-making project, Kamoha was made aware that six years Rabbi Arela Harel had already began such a project of his own, with the identical goals.
After discussing this with Rabbi Harel, it was learned that over 50 men and 20 women have already turned to him, and that 12 couples have married, with a thirteenth on the way, it was decided that we join forces to establish a formal match-making project, and the first of its kind – Anachnu.
The name Anachnu (Us – in Hebrew), represents the transition from the life of bachelorhood in which an individual is his own master and makes decisions based on his own needs (I) to that of a shared home life, in which a husband and wife arrive at decisions together (us).
An Ideal Situation?
Rabbi Harel himself indicates that although the idea to match gay men with lesbians sounds simple, it also sounds like something unreal, and in the beginning caused a great many eyebrows to be raised.
Rabbi Harel consulted with professionals in different fields, psychologists, marriage and relationship counselors, sex therapists, early childhood educators, rabbis, and others. Together, they came to the conclusion that such a project would be worth a try.
Kamoha also made inquiries of psychologists, counselors and rabbis regarding the matter, and it was decided that although far from perfect, the project would be worth a try.
We emphasize the word "try," because this project is the first of its kind, and thus we are aware of the need to proceed carefully. As such, Rabbi Harel himself reports that one of the couples he brought together has separated, after only a brief marriage. At the end of the day, with all things considered, these cases are negligible. However, it is clear that the venture is not for everyone and one.
Who are the best candidates for this project?
This project is not suitable for everyone. In order to prevent a situation in which after several years of marriage, one of a couple's spouses goes through a change in sexual orientation. Those suitable for this project are those who are not in the process of trying out a new sexual orientation, but rather for those who have accepted themselves as being gay or lesbian.
It is for this reason that we recommend contacting Anachnu only after meeting the following conditions:
* Applicants have consulted with a professional who is supportive of the project. A list of therapists and counselors can be provided upon request.
* Applicants are not too young and immature to understand fully the implications of choosing such a path.
As such, it is important to understand that the objective of this organization is to assist in establishing of stable families. We assist couples, whose desire it is to establish a family, and who have already accepted the fact that they will never be able to alter their orientations. The relationships created through this project should not be considered for use as attempts at change or treatment of sexual preference.
Moreover, raising a family these unique conditions is a complex process, so we encourage couples to make use of available professional resources.
What kind of relationships are expected as a result of this project?
The answer to this question depends solely on the each couple. Anachnu as a match-making body, (as well as Rabbi Harel and Kamoha) do not involvement themselves in the intimate lives of the applicants and do not set guidelines as to what each couple should or should not do in this area.
Each couple tailors its own relationship – with a physical component or without, sharing the same bedroom or not, the level of a couple's connection during leisure time, and what exactly the children will know, and the like. Everything is up to the couple's discretion. We in turn will be happy to provide advice and guidance for the couples, as well as point them toward any professionals who would be able to assist them begin their new lives together.
What about discretion?
Absolutely! All of us are aware of the need for both parties (all involved parties) to keep each other's confidentiality. And it is understood that those contacting this project accept upon themselves to respect the privacy of the other (all others), to keep absolute secrecy and to avoid the exposure of anyone.
How does it work?
Contact Rabbi Harel at [email protected], and he will then contact you by telephone. In order to filter out undesirable elements, registration involves a meeting with Rabbi Harel in person for an interview and completion of a questionnaire. (The inclusion of a photograph is recommended, but not required. Many of those being match prefer candidates who have included a photograph.)
Afterwards, you will be added to the respective lists of male and female candidates to be matched. We will then check for appropriate matches, and begin setting up dates!
Each candidate may register under a pseudonym. However, if must be understood that not everyone will agree to meet with someone using a made-up name, and that using a real-name identity will increase the chances of finding a match from our pool of potentials.
How much does it cost?
Until now, Rabbi Harel has providing his match-making service in return for little compensation. As of now, with the establishment of this project with Kamoha, the initial registration fee is NIS 150, to the order of Kamoha, for the Anachnu. Then, as is customary in the field, after a match has been successfully made, a final contribution of NIS 1,500 from each party would be made, again to the order of Kamoha, for the Anachnu Project.
All payments will be receipted, in accordance with Jewish Law and custom.
How do I register?
You may contact Rabbi Arela Harel by e-mail [email protected]. It is preferred to include a phone number in the e-mail.
Good luck to us all, and may it be G-d's will that we will merit to joy and the fulfillment of our heart's desires for good!
Rabbi Arela Harel
Kamoha – Gay Orthodox Jews (reg. non-profit org.)
Anachnu – Matching Gay Jewish Men with Lesbians
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(comming very soon – English translation to this page – FAQ)
(פרסום ראשון: 10.8.11)