“Orthodox” and “Drag Queen” aren’t words you’d expect to show up next to each other, except maybe in the sentence “Wait, there’s an Orthodox Drag Queen?” Well, as our friends over at Failed Messiah point out – Yes there certainly is.
As initially reported by the AP, Shahar Hadad, a 34 year old Jerusalemite, spends his days working as a telemarketer, and his nights becoming “Rebbetzin Malka Falsche”, the holy city’s first Orthodox drag queen.
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.
“She blesses, she loves everyone,” said Hadar of his alter-ego, Rebbetzin Malka Falsche. The stage name is a playful take on a Hebrew word meaning “queen” and Hebrew slang for “fake.” Her philosophy, and Hadar’s, draws from the teachings of the Breslov Hasidic stream of ultra-Orthodox Judaism: embrace life’s vicissitudes with joy.
“Usually drag queens are gruff. I decided that I wanted to be happy, entertain people, perform mitzvoth,” or religious deeds, he said.
An encounter with a popular Israeli rebbetzin is what launched Hadar’s inner journey at age 19.
He began by wearing a yarmulke, a religious skullcap, and reciting morning prayers in his bedroom. He left home to enroll in a Jerusalem yeshiva, or religious seminary, hoping that daily Torah study would make him stop thinking about men.