Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Israeli Orthodox Jew Shahar Hadar shops for women's shoes in downtown Tel Aviv for his next drag queen show. Hadar, a telemarketer by day, has taken the gay Orthodox struggle from the synagogue to the stage, beginning to perform as one of Israel's few religious drag queens. His drag persona is that of a rebbetzin, a female rabbinic advisor, a wholesome guise that stands out among the sarcastic and raunchy cast of characters on Israel'­s drag queen circuit.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar prays during the mourning ritual of Tisha B'Av in July at the Western Wall.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar shops for a dress for his next drag queen show.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar's wigs and a dress hang in a dressing room just before his show at a gay club in Jerusalem in July.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar shaves his beard as he prepares for a show in June at a drag queen school in downtown Tel Aviv.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar has makeup applied as he prepares for a show in June at a drag queen school in downtown Tel Aviv.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar gets dressed for the school's show.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar gets ready to put on his red dress for a drag queen show in July at a gay club in Jerusalem.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

Hadar performs on stage at the gay club in Jerusalem.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Oded Balilty / Associated Press

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Photo essay | Holy Land drag queen

Pictures in the News | August 9, 2013

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in the desert of Southern California, where the fast-moving Silver fire has now consumed 16,000 acres and is only 25% contained.   View Post»

   

Photo essay | Holy Land drag queen

2013 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National

Adam Scott beat 2009 champion Angel Cabrera on the second playoff hole to win the 77th Masters at a rain-soaked Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday. Scott sealed the win...   View Post»

   

Bell football coach

For Bell High School, a whole different game

There was extra pressure on Bell High School's football team this season because of the scandals surrounding the city. But Coach Frank Medina, who's also a history teacher, put...   View Post»

   

Lakers Rockets

Bling, celebrities come out for Lakers opener against Rockets

The Los Angeles Lakers celebrated their back-to-back NBA championship with a   View Post»

Photo essay | Holy Land drag queen

By Oded Balilty

A week before the annual gay pride parade in Tel Aviv, I was looking for something to shoot other than the colorful procession that’s seen every other year.

I searched newspapers and websites related to the local gay community and found out about a drag queen school in the city’s gay center. I was invited to shoot backstage before the students’ first show when a man with a beard and skullcap showed up.

I watched him shave his beard and apply makeup, and that’s how I met Shahar. I decided I would follow him instead of shooting a story on the school. He talked about his personal life and life as a drag queen, and during several shoots over two months I was able to capture his story.

For me, this story shows that when you want to do something and you believe in it, nothing can stop you.

Oded Balilty is a photographer with the Associated Press.

1 Comment

  1. November 9, 2013, 9:07 am

    To me it mean that there is a very self-actualized, brave and religious Orthodox Gay Jew in Israel.

    By: mipela

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published