Drawing on interviews with Jewish Orthodox psychotherapists in Israel and on sources that represent the social, political, and cultural milieu within which these therapists work, we analyze the practices they use when working with religious gay men. Given debates and prohibitions on homosexuality in Jewish law, the therapists deploy three practices: reproducing religious norms, allowing homosexuality to be privately acknowledged while advocating its concealment from the public eye, or adopting religious distinctions that enable two men to live together while abstaining from sexual intercourse. These interventions express therapists’ pragmatic cultural work, sorting out opposing therapeutic discourses, like the liberal-professional and the religious, and engaging with contestations beyond the clinic’s boundaries. Some interventions may suggest an acknowledgment that religious standards are often met only on the surface and require continual subterfuge. They may imply, however, a recognition of cracks in the religious ideal and fine-tuning of religious and professional commitments.
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© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Cultural work
- Orthodox Jews
- Professional ethics
- Reparative therapies