Tehila – support for parents and family members of the LGBTQ+ community - was established in 1992 by Jonathan Danilovich. Jonathan was a flight attendant for El Al and fought for legal recognition of his partner’s rights.
Dvora Luz and other mothers joined Jonathan, recognizing the need for a volunteer parent organization to give help to other parents and family members facing a crisis or difficulty once their children came out of the closet.
Our goal is to assist as many parents as possible. Our vision is to be “the leading, accessible group for empowerment, support, and acceptance, and designed for parents and family members of the LGBTQ+ community. Tehila strives to help them have a meaningful dialogue with their children and thus become a strong and supportive anchor for them. We strive to give them tools to be part of the cultural and social shift in Israel which results in a respectful, just, safe, and egalitarian society. “
When a child comes out of the closet, the family often experiences a deep upheaval. Parents face varying difficulties managing this meaningful change. With the help of Tehila’s volunteers, the parents go through a long or short process, depending on where they were at the initial stage, until they reach complete acceptance.
Experience and uncompromising professionalism have placed Tehila as a foremost LGBTQ+ organization. Tehila’s activities are all led by parents who have undergone the same process and have been trained to help other parents.
We work in three main channels:
1. Support groups for Parents - Tehila is the only organization which operates support groups for the parents of LGBTQ+. In each group, facilitation is done by two highly trained parents and overseen by professionals. Several groups operate all over Israel. New parents are invited to join at any time; we help them share their feeling and dilemmas while feeling among equals, knowing they do not have to cope with their concerns alone.
The topics and difficulties that arise in the groups’ discussions are as many and as varied as the number of parents. In the groups they receive the support of others together with tools to cope.
Our experience has taught us that there is a need for unique support groups for separated parents of trans, religious parents and for fathers alone, though in many of the other support groups in Tehila this distinction does not apply.
2. Hot line – Tehila operates a support hotline on which parents answer hundreds of calls a year. The number is 09-8855822.
All the volunteers have been trained and they are supervised by professionals. Callers are often in the stages of denial, isolation, or anger, and the call with the volunteer can be the first open interaction of the parent with someone outside of the immediate family. The conversation enables the parent to conceptualize the situation, ask questions, be angry, and receive information about the different resources from which they may get assistance. We also receive many calls from other family members in addition to professional (counselors, teachers, social workers, etc.) and the LGBTQ+ children who want to consult on how to approach and talk to their parents
3. Constance raising and advocacy - We give dozens of lectures every year, primarily taking the form of a “personal story.” Parents have been trained to tell their personal story as parents of LGBTQ+, talking about the challenges and difficulties they experienced and who/what helped them.
Listening to parents’ stories creates a personal empathic connection with the listener and clarifies the journey a parent makes when the child comes out of the closet. We encourage you to invite a Tehila representative to share their personal story at info@Tehila.org.il.
Tehila partners with other LGBTQ+ organizations to influence decision and policy makers. We work to achieve full equality for our children on the one hand, and to clarify the unique place we hold as parents to LGBTQ+ on the other.
Surrounding every LGBTQ+ who comes out of the closet there exists an immediate circle of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and more. The services Tehila has given and continues to give to thousands of parents over the years helps the entire family reenter the equilibrium and provide the children with the stability they need.
Donate to Tehila
Contributions by check: Checks should be made payable to “New Israel Fund”.
Contributions should be marked as donor-advised to [grantee name] (in check memo, accompanying letter, or both to Tehila – Support for parents and family members of LGBTQ+).
Minimum amount for a donor-advised contribution: $100
New Israel Fund
P.O. Box 70358
Philadelphia, PA 19176-0358
Donate by phone
Please call 212.613.4400 to donate by phone.