My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mixing Judiasm and Homosexuality in Jerusalem..

Could you ever imagine this sort of art exhibit opening in Mecca???
It's safe to say that no one pays too much attention to an artist's sexual preferences these days. Similarly, holding an exhibition of works by religious artists doesn't always set the public's imagination on fire. However, try combining homosexuality with religiosity, and you are more than likely to get some kind of response from the public.

Last Tuesday the "Out of the Sacred Closet - Beauty, Belief and Identity" exhibition opened at the Hadassah Art Gallery. The exhibition comprises 14 works by homosexual and lesbian artists, all of whom come from a religious background. The opening was attended by some 250 people and, in the intervening week, the event has sparked something of a media storm with widespread coverage in this country and, to date, has also attracted the interest of reporters from Holland, Spain and the United States.

Ofra Zucker, who curated the exhibition, makes no bones about the marketing intent. "We looked for a name that we thought would pique people's interest and get them to come to the exhibition," she says. "There are so many artists with works to show, and we looked for something that would be a bit provocative and also convey the general idea behind the works."

The Hebrew title is even more suggestive. Literally translated, the first part of the name, "Yotzim Me'aron Hakodesh," means "Coming out of the Holy Ark" - a clever play on words that gets the message across in no uncertain terms.

"That describes the artists' declaration of their sexuality, as well as the religious content - the Holy Ark," Zucker explains. "That's what the exhibition is based on. The artists here want to show there is no clash between their sexual preference and their religious upbringing."

Avi Rose certainly has no problem combining the two. In 2006, New York-born, Toronto-bred Rose, a doctor of psychology by academic training and now a Jerusalem-based purveyor of Jewish education, and his British partner became the first homosexual couple to be recognized as such by the Interior Ministry.

"My father is a rabbi and I have three brothers who are rabbis, and they have all been very supportive of me," says Rose, who has two paintings in the exhibition. His works offer a new angle on classic Zionist posters of yesteryear. In one of his paintings, for example, the original image of a benign Zionist man nurturing an adoring youngster's nascent pioneering spirit has been replaced by two male adults with a youth in a similar adulatory pose. "That conveys the idea of a male couple having a family," explains Rose.


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