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Micha and Yeshai

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When Micha was five, he made aliyah with his family from New Zealand to Eli, a small settlement north of Jerusalem made up of mostly Modern Orthodox families. Micha was born female, and his whole life, he felt uncomfortable in his body. After high school, unlike many young Orthodox girls, he decided to join the IDF. He became a career officer and found that the army was a perfect way to hide from life and the things expected from a young Orthodox woman.

While in the army, Micha made the decision to transition to being a man. The IDF fully supported him throughout his entire transition. After seven years of service, Micha left the army to study at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Study and began to volunteer with Shoval, an organization comprised of Orthodox LGBT individuals who educate for tolerance and compassion toward LGBT youth and adults in the religious community.

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Yeshai was born to a Modern Orthodox family, but his extended family is Haredi. For his army service, he was in Hesder – a special track for religious soldiers that combines a yeshiva program with military service. During one of his terms in yeshiva, he fell in love with a fellow (male) student and sought help from him and a rabbi. They sent him to conversion therapy to try to convince him he was not gay. When Yeshai realized his homosexuality was not a mental illness, he ceased the conversion treatments and became less observant. Yeshai came out at the age of 25, he discovered the religious LGBT community and has slowly returned to Judaism.

Micha and Yeshai met at a Shoval training seminar and have since been inseparable. As a transgender-gay couple, they cannot legally marry in Israel.