Connect with us


Yair Cherki is famous for making Israelis understand Haredim. Now he wants Haredim to understand that he’s gay.



(JTA) — Yair Cherki, the religion reporter for Israel’s Channel 12, gained a name for his sidecurls, his cheery demeanor and his rapid fire delivery as he has guided his viewers  into the lives and homes of Israel’s Haredi community.

On Tuesday, he delivered a different sort of message —  a wrenching personal statement posted to Facebook.

“I love guys. I love guys and the Holy Blessed One,” a religious term for God, Cherki wrote. “It’s not a contradiction, and it’s not new.”

He went on to describe how he had grappled with a secret that had tormented him.

“I have always lived with the clash between this sexual preference and faith,” he wrote. “There are those who solved the conflict by saying there is no God, and there are others who have said there are no gays. In my flesh, I know they both exist and I try to resolve this internal conflict in multiple ways.”

What may have been surprising, beyond the content of the announcement itself, was the outpouring of support for Cherki evinced across Israel’s political spectrum. 

“I love you my dear brother,” former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is Orthodox, wrote on Twitter. “And I am very proud of you.”

Amir Ohana, the openly gay speaker of the Knesset from the Likud Party, responded with a heart emoji. 

“This text is so beautiful and moving,” commented Meirav Michaeli, the leader of the left-wing Labor Party. “Thank you for giving it to all of us.”

Also flooding Cherki’s mentions were rivals from Israel’s usually cutthroat media world. “What a joy you are, Cherki,” wrote Shaul Amsterdamski, the finance reporter for the rival Kan network, Israel’s public broadcaster. (Channel 12 is privately owned.)

His public coming out comes at a time that far-right figures in Israel’s new government have shown an appetite for curbing the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Cherki said he would not quit his faith. “My community is still the religious community,” he wrote. “My tribe, my family and my friends. These are my beliefs.”

Not every Israeli was ready to understand, but some still spoke in loving terms.

“This post made me very sad,” commented Yehuda Glick, a former Likud lawmaker who leads a movement to allow Jewish worship on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. “It doesn’t change the fact that I love you not a single gram less than I loved you before I read it. But in total honesty, it’s a gut punch.”

Uriah Elkayam, a journalist, replied to Glick: “These kind of responses from you and your cohort crush souls and drain the lifeblood from people, because you think you are better Jews. This is a time to hug, or to shut up.” 

Cherki, 30, rake-slim, generally sports a dark blue kippah and dark casual clothing.He recently cut off his payos, the sidecurls kept by haredi men.

Cherki made his mark in TV news by taking viewers into the homes of his fellow Haredim and asking them, in gentle, urgent tones, to explain why they believed what they believed.

He endeavored to keep Haredim from being reduced to cliches. A Haredi Knesset cafeteria worker who invited Cherki and another reporter into his home described his admiration for Bennett. The cafeteria worker also explained why he disagreed with Bennett profoundly on issues of national security, and was ready to vote for Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right, religious Zionist politician currently serving as Israel’s national security minister.

Cherki pointed at a cabinet stacked with the writings of the late Sephardic sage, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who founded the Haredi Shas Party. “A Shas house!” he said — a way of noting for viewers that parties which have traditionally represented Haredi Israelis no longer had a grip on their natural constituents.

Cherki’s job also led him into awkward encounters. In a segment on Haredi marriage, a matchmaker he interviewed chided him for not yet getting hitched.

He has been at pains to make clear that he is a believer. Last year, he explained how Haredim in B’nei Brak, a city north of Tel Aviv, were coping with the aftermath of a terror attack. Many believed that the heavily haredi city no longer had the protection of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, an eminent sage who had died days before the attack, and whom they believed protected the city.

The anchorman, Rafi Reshef, asked Cherki incredulously whether he bought into the “narrative” that Kanievsky had protected B’nei Brak.

Cherki shot him a pained look and said it was “a little bit of a private question.” Cherki said. 

“I generally believe that the role of righteous people in the place where they live, there is significance,” he said. “The question of, if just because a rabbi died, at that moment, B’nei Brak is more vulnerable than before, is bigger than me. But I can understand and tell you the spirit and the thought processes of people who believe that.”

Reshef apologized. Cherki smiled.

Cherki also speaks to secular Israeli groups about the world of haredi Jews. “If I had to put in a single sentence what I’m trying to do on TV when I talk about Haredim, I want to say ‘They’re not all the same,’” he told a bar full of secular Israelis last month on a TV show that brings together different sectors of Israel’s deeply divided society..

The post Yair Cherki is famous for making Israelis understand Haredim. Now he wants Haredim to understand that he’s gay. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

Continue Reading

Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

Continue Reading


Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News