Grandson of Former Israeli Chief Rabbi Is Having a Same-sex Wedding

A grandson of a former chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel reportedly will exchange wedding vows with a man at a ceremony led by a religious gay woman.

Ovadia Cohen, whose late grandfather Ovadia Yosef was the Shas party spiritual leader and Israel’s foremost Sephardic halachic authority, will tie the knot next week with Amichai Landsman, Ynet reported Thursday.

Cohen was very close to his grandfather, according to Ynet. His parents divorced when he was a child, leading the rabbi to take an active role in his upbringing, he told Ynet. Yosef died in 2013.

Cohen had been married to a woman with whom he had two children, but they divorced and Cohen came out as gay. Three years ago he met Landsman, who grew up in a religious Zionist community in Haifa, and the two moved in together while maintaining a religious lifestyle.

Cohen has had “very partial” contact with his family following his coming out. Landsman says his religious family has come to “accept” him.

The ceremony celebrating the couple’s union will be led by Zahorit Sorek, a prominent activist in the gay religious community and a member of the Yesh Atid party, whose fight against what it considers religious coercion regularly puts it on a collision course with Shas.

The State of Israel does not have a civil marriage option and all state-recognized wedding ceremonies must be conducted by a cleric. However, it does recognize partnerships between same-sex spouses who register as living together.


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