A rabbi at one of Washington D.C.'s most prominent synagogues has announced that he is gay and divorcing his wife of 20 years.
Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, who has three teenage children with wife Batya, herself a rabbi, sent the email to members of Adas Israel Congregation on Monday.
He said that Batya has long known about the feelings he has battled since he was young.
'I am writing to share with you that after twenty years of marriage, my wife Batya and I have decided to divorce,' he announced in the email, shared by the Washington Post. 'We have arrived at this heartbreaking decision because I have come to understand that I am gay.'
Revelation: Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, left, has announced that he is gay and is divorcing his wife, Batya, right
Steinlauf, 45, explained that he has realized that he can continue 'with the greatest strength, with the greatest peace in my heart' by finally acknowledging his sexuality.
'Sadly, for us this means that Batya and I can no longer remain married, despite our fidelity throughout our marriage and our abiding friendship and love,' he wrote.
Side-by-side: The couple, who are both rabbis, have been together for 20 years and have three children
Support: In an email to the congregation, Steinlauf praised his wife for her support through his struggle
'But my inner struggle never did go away. Indeed, Batya herself has supported me through this very personal inner struggle that she knew to be the source of great pain and confusion in my life over decades.'
He added to the Washington Post that he and his wife had worked for the past three years to try to figure out how they could stay together.
'What we've had for 20 years is very real, and the last thing I'd want is for us to live a lie,' he said.
He said that they would continue to live together for now.
His email to 1,420 households was accompanied with a letter of support from the congregation’s president, Arnie Podgorsky, JTA reported.
Leader: Steinlauf, pictured right with the Dalai Lama, has been praised with bringing traditional and progressive Jews together. In 2012, he officiated his synagogue's first same-sex marriage
Prominent: He emailed 1,400 households in the Adas Israel Congregation, in Northwest Washington
Together with the other officers of Adas Israel, I stand with Rabbi Steinlauf,' it read. 'Our synagogue is strong, large, and inclusive–a big tent with room and respect for all.
'We understand that Rabbi Steinlauf will be undergoing a challenging personal transition in the coming months, and we extend to him patience and a generous spirit.'
The letter added that Rabbi Steinlauf had shared his news with the officers of Adas Israel earlier this fall and they decided how he would share it with the congregation.
Steinlauf joined Adas six years ago and has since worked to bring more traditional and progressive Jews together. In 2012, he officiated at the first same-sex wedding at Adas Israel.