Shay Bramson (35)
Chairperson of Havruta
Shay Yeshayahu Yehuda Bramson, resident of Tel Aviv, a data scientist and a geneticist, has been volunteering for 16 years in in the LGBTQ community. An ex religious and a survivor of conversion" therapy", he served as a guide in the Israeli Gay Youth organization IGY, as a director and one of the founders of the LGBT Student Association- The Achva, as a coordinator of government relations and public policy at the Association for LGBTQ Rights in Israel, was elected to the board of directors of the Association for LGBTQ Rights in Israel and a volunteer in Shoval organization – the religious LGBTQ advocacy organization. Since 2019, he has served as elected chairperson of Havruta, one of the religious LGBTQ community organizations. In 2020 he established the Center for Combating Conversion Therapy, which coordinates the effort against the conversion therapy deception and its agents, and brings together all the community responses on the subject.
Havruta has been operating since 2007 as an organization for LGBTQ people on the religious spectrum. Religious, ultra-Orthodox, traditional, repentant, and questionable – everyone finds a home in Havruta. Havruta holds Shabbat, Torah study, social groups, parties, trips, and social events in the circles of the year, for thousands of participants. Havruta's groups are expand from Haifa to Beersheba, in Judea, Samaria, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, for a variety of ages. Havruta operates a unique assistance and support system in which the religious applicant can receive a response from a professional, rabbi, parent, or religious LGBTQ person like himself who faces the same difficulties. The system responds to dozens of inquiries every month from the religious sector, mainly from the ultra-Orthodox sector. Havruta mediates between therapists who understand the religious world and are aware of the dangers of conversion therapy, and those who need it. Havruta fights for religious LGBTQ people in both the religious and LGBTQ communities, religious representation in the coalition of LGBTQ organizations, contact rabbis, religious LGBTQ activism at the Jerusalem Pride Parade, and the sectoral media. All this for the sake of protecting our families from hatred, our young people from the lie of conversion therapy, and to make it clear to anyone who doubts that LGBTQ and religious identities can coexist.
religious identities can coexist.
The Center for Combating Conversion Therapy, founded by Havruta and the Gay Center of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, is concentrating its efforts on fighting the lie of conversion therapy. The "treatments "are dangerous, harmful and ineffective, and the center takes care to publish reliable information and data on the subject and does so exclusively. The center also presents the personal stories of those affected by the conversion industry and exploited financially or sexually by it. The center fights legally and judicially against conversion, and constantly strives to harm the conversion agencies and restrict their steps, on behalf of religious LGBTQ young men and women. The center deals comprehensively with conversion therapy in Israel, bisexuals and gays, transgenders and cisgenders, religious and secular, Muslims and Jews. The center provides training to therapists and consultants on the subject, conducts broad advocacy and gathers jurists to deal with these issues. The center offers a variety of therapeutic solutions – alternative elective therapies for conversion, and rehabilitation groups for conversion survivors suffering from its damage.