Jerusalem Open House

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Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance
הבית הפתוח בירושלים לגאווה ולסובלנות
البيت المفتوح في القدس للفخر والتسامح
Jerusalem Open House Logo.png
Founded 1997
Type LGBT Rights
Area served
Key people
Chairperson of the Board:
Dana Sharon
Executive Director:
Sarah Kala-Meir

The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH, Hebrew: הבית הפתוח בירושלים לגאווה ולסובלנות‎‎ HaBayit HaPatuach, "Open House" Arabic: البيت المفتوح في القدس للفخر والتسامح‎‎ Al-Beit Al-Maftoukh) is a grassroots,[citation needed] activist organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. Since 1997, the JOH has aimed to provide direct services for the LGBT community within the city of Jerusalem and to secure LGBT rights in Israeli society at large.

The JOH annual budget is derived entirely from private donations, foundation and federation support, and membership and participation fees. The JOH does not receive financial aid from municipal, governmental sources or commercial sponsorships.


The Jerusalem Open House was founded in 1997. The annual Jerusalem Pride marches organized by the center have become the largest human-rights demonstrations in Jerusalem. In 2006 the JOH hosted WorldPride. The JOH also founded the first LGBT health clinic in Israel—the Open Clinic—and developed programming including a comprehensive youth program and unique projects bridging LGBT and religious identities.

Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance[edit]

Further information: Jerusalem gay pride parade

Since the first March for Pride and Tolerance in 2002, Jerusalem Pride—"Love Without Border"—has become an established event in Jerusalem, each year bringing in additional partners and supporters.[citation needed]

In 2005 a municipal ban attempted to halt the parade, but it was overturned by a district court order. Protesters, many of them religious Jews, lined the mile-long parade route shouting insults and displaying signs with messages like: "You are corrupting our children," and "Jerusalem is not San Francisco."[1] During the parade, Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi Jew, stabbed three parade participants with a kitchen knife. During a police interrogation, he described the motive behind his actions: "I came to murder on behalf of God. We can't have such abomination in the country."[2] The perpetrator was subsequently convicted of three counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The Jerusalem District Court also ordered that NIS 280 million (about USD 60 million) be paid as compensation to the victims.[3] Schlissel was released in 2015 and returned to the Pride Parade in 2015 to attack again.[4]

The 2006 Pride parade was also steeped in controversy. Radical right-wing activists Hillel Weiss, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir declared a "holy war" against those participating in the Parade and announced that unless the parade was cancelled, violence would ensue.[5] The Parade's coordinators filed a complaint, accusing them of incitement to murder.[6] A week before the parade violent rioting broke out in the Haredi neighborhood of Mea Shearim. Seven policemen and a number of unknown protesters were wounded. However, the parade proceeded without incident.


The JOH takes action on a variety of issues concerning the LGBT community through campaigning and advocacy. Current campaigns include efforts to convince the Rabbinical School of the Conservative movement to accept LGBT people into its Rabbinical program in Israel; to achieve recognition for LGBT victims of the Holocaust and their inclusion in Israel's national Holocaust memorial ceremonies; and to protest against conversion therapy.

Religious programming[edit]

The JOH is the only LGBT organization in the country to offer ongoing religious programming, including Kabbalat Shabbat services and holiday services. The center also organizes meetings and events for people of all religious denominations, including a social group for Orthodox gay men. In addition, JOH supports exchanges with LGBT synagogues abroad.

Health services[edit]

JOH's efforts to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and encourage better care and prevention in Jerusalem culminated in 2007 with the launch of Israel's first LGBT health clinic[citation needed]: the Open Clinic.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Matthew Kalman (1 July 2005). "Jerusalem's gay pride marchers attacked / 3 participants stabbed, 13 protesters arrested as ultra-Orthodox crowd tries to halt parade". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Israeli man faces attempted murder charges for stabbing three gay pride marchers". Wikinews. [unreliable source?]
  3. ^ Tal Rosner (8 February 2006). "Gay Parade stabber gets 12 years in prison". Ynetnews. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Oren Liebermann; Jason Hanna (31 July 2015). "Repeat attacker stabs 6 at Jerusalem gay pride parade, police say". CNN. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Efrat Weiss (18 October 2006). "Baruch Marzel: Pride parade will lead to violence". Ynetnews. [not in citation given]
  6. ^ Neta Sela (27 October 2006). "Gay group files complaint for incitement to murder". Ynetnews. Retrieved 3 August 2015.