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Finding Aid to the Beth Chayim Chadashim Records, 1948, 1967-2013 Coll2012.133
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Processing Information
  • Access
  • Scope and Contents
  • Administrative History
  • Acquisition Information
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Materials
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Title: Beth Chayim Chadashim records
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2012.133
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 36.9 linear feet. 22 archive boxes + 5 archive flat boxes + 4 archive binder boxes + 3 archive cartons
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1972-2013
    Date (inclusive): 1948, 1967-2013
    Abstract: The collection consists of administrative records, membership records, financial records, outreach and event records, religious service texts, publications, subject files, photographs, and other materials used and/or created by Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), 1948, 1967-2013. Founded in 1972 as the world’s first lesbian and gay synagogue, BCC is an inclusive community of progressive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual Jews, their families, and friends.
    creator: Beth Chayim Chadashim (Los Angeles, Calif.).

    Processing Information

    Part of collection formerly housed in boxes A214, A214a, A214b, A214c, A214d, A214e, A214f, A214g, A214i, A215, A216, A217, A218, A220, A221, A222, and A223.
    Collection processed by Kyle Morgan, 2012.
    Supplemental material processed by Kyle Morgan, 2014.


    Restricted access to some membership and financial records. Please consult archivist.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of administrative records, membership records, financial records, outreach and event records, religious service texts, publications, subject files, photographs, and other materials maintained and/or created by Beth Chayim Chadashim, 1948, 1967-2013. Records dated prior to the founding of the temple in 1972 consist exclusively of religious texts. The administrative records include meeting minutes, membership lists, records of the president, correspondence, and other operational records. The financial records include financial reports, ledgers, receipts, and budget reports. The outreach and event records comprise promotional material, advertisements, event programs, and informational pamphlets and booklets. Other records include periodicals, texts used or referenced for religious services, clippings, mass mailings, photographs, and assorted artifacts.

    Administrative History

    The world’s first synagogue for gay and lesbian Jews grew out of a weekly rap group meeting on April 4, 1972 at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Los Angeles. The three men and one woman who attended that meeting were all Jewish. MCC founder Reverend Troy Perry encouraged them to start a congregation and offered free use of church facilities. About a dozen women and men came to an ad hoc meeting to found the Metropolitan Community Temple in May of that year.
    After services on January 26, 1973, the fledgling synagogue changed its name to Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), Hebrew for “House of New Life.” That same night, a fire destroyed the MCC church, and BCC temporarily moved into the Leo Baeck Temple in Bel Air. There in 1973, BCC received a Holocaust survivor Torah from the town of Chotebor, Czechoslovakia, on permanent loan from Westminster Synagogue in London.
    The Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now Union for Reform Judaism) accepted BCC into their union on June 9, 1974, the first gay and lesbian congregation accepted by a mainstream religious organization in the world. BCC also became a founding member of the World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations and hosted international conferences in 1978 and 1982, along with several Western regional conferences.
    In 1977 BCC purchased its own building at 6000 West Pico Boulevard and in 1983 hired its first ordained rabbi and later its first invested cantor. At a time when most temples still used male pronouns for God, BCC created the first gender-neutral prayer book. BCC was also a pioneer in egalitarian worship services with lay service leaders and in the creation of life cycle rituals for lesbian and gay individuals and couples.
    In the 1980s, BCC helped found Nechama, a Jewish Response to AIDS, which was initially housed at BCC and later moved to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (it later became the independent nonprofit group Los Angeles Jewish AIDS Services). In 1987 BCC inaugurated its Persons with AIDS dinners, providing food and community support to individuals and their friends and families.
    In 1995 as members began to raise children in greater numbers, BCC began its first children’s program, Yeladim B’Lev (“Children in the Heart”). By 2007 BCC had established an active religious school program known as Ohr Chayim.
    Source: Beth Chayim Chadashim website ©2012 at http://www.bcc-la.org/history/.

    Acquisition Information

    Part of the collection was gifted at an unknown date presumably by BCC member and ONE Incorporated board member Jesse Jacobs. Other parts of the collection were gifted in multiple donations from Tracy Moore between June 2011 and May 2014.


    This collection is arranged in the following series:
    Series 1. Administrative records, 1972-2013
    Series 2. Financial records, 1972-2009
    Series 3. Outreach and event records, 1972-2013
    Series 4. Religious services records, 1948, 1967-2013
    Series 5. Publications, 1973-2012
    Series 6. Subject files, 1973-2010
    Series 7. Photographs, 1977-2009
    Series 8. Audiovisual and graphic materials, religious artifacts, and other objects, 1978-2011

    Separated Materials

    Separated to the ONE Archives periodical collection (2012)
    Bridges: A Journal for Jewish Feminists and our Friends, v.1, no.1 and 2; v.2, no.1 and 2; v.3, no.1 and 2; v.4, no.1 and 2; v.5, no.1 (1990-1995).
    The Chicago Gay Crusader, no.1, 2 (May, June 1973).
    Chicago Gay Pride, v.3, no.2 (May-June 1973).
    Curve, v.16, no.10 (December 2006).
    HRC Quarterly (Fall 1996).
    Jewish Gaily Forward, v.1, no.1 (October 1977).
    Keeping in Touch (September/October 1998).
    Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter (March 1999).
    LN, v.19, no.11 (June 1994).
    New Life (October 1974).
    News Update. Lesbian and Gay Public Awareness Project (February 1997).
    Reconstructionist, v.51, no.2 (October November 1985).
    Task Force Report (Summer 1998).
    Vanguard News and Views (May 17, 1991).
    Separated to the ONE Archives periodical collection (2014)
    Bet Mishpachah newsletter (May, June, July/August, September 1994).
    Chevrei Tikva News, no.190-195 (1999-2000).
    Congreagation Beth Simchat Torah, gay and lesbian synagogue news (June/July, August/September 1994).
    Congregation Tikvah Chadashah newsletter (November-December 1999, March-April 2000).
    Disciples (November-December 1999, January-February 2000).
    Frontiers, special bulletin (October 1986).
    Gay & Lesbian Synagogue News, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (June, August, September 1994; October-December 1999; January-March 2000).
    Gay Times (May 1994).
    Hamaagal, Congregation Bet Haverim newsletter (November-December 1999, January-April 2000).
    In the Life, June L. Mazer newsletter, no.19 (December 1999).
    The Jewish Gaily Forward, newsletter of Congregation Sha'ar Zahav (June, September 1994).
    Kibbitz, Congregation Beth El Binah newsletter (July, August, September 1994; November 1999; January-April 2000).
    Kol Am Tikva newsletter (January-March 2000, Summer 1994, September-October 1994).
    Koleynu, newsletter of congregation Keshet Shalom (August-September-October 1994).
    LN, Lesbian News, v.32, no.2 (September 2006).
    MCC News, v.4, no.40 (July 16, 1972).
    The New Light, Or Chadash newsletter, v.18, no.9,10,11 (1994); v.24, no.11-12 (1999); v.25, no.1-4 (2000).
    The Paraclete, Spirit of the Valley, the newsletter of MCC in the Valley, v.6, no.6 (November/December 1999).
    Positive Living (November 1999).
    SCWU Newsletter, v.8, no.5 (October-November 1984).
    Simcha newsletter (June, July, August, September 1994).
    The Shofar, Congregation Beth Ahavah newsletter, v.25, no.3 (February/March 2000); v.19, no.5, 6 (1994).
    Temple Beth-El Bulletin, v.2, no.10-11 (1999); v.3, no.1, 2, 4 (2000).
    Ten Percent, v.1, no.1 (November/December)
    World Congress Digest, v.11, no.3 (Fall 1992).
    The World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations quarterly newsletter of the eastern hemisphere, no.14 (August 1994).
    Zei Gezundt Gazette, Etz Chaim, no.14-16 (October-December 1999); (June-July, September 1994).
    Separated to the ONE Archives catalog and program collections (2014)
    City of West Hollywood wedding planning business directory, June 17, 2008.
    Gay and Lesbian Lehrhaus Judaica, Fall 1999, Spring 2000.
    The Gay and Lesbian Parent Resource Book: For prospective and existing parents, Summer 2005.
    "Odd Girl at ONE: Lillian Faderman," October 13, 2007.
    Separated to ONE Archives pamphlet, program, and calendar collections (2012)
    "About our Children", a PFLAG pamphlet.
    "American Society on Aging’s Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network" pamphlet.
    "GLAAD Media Awards" program (1991).
    Christopher Street West (CSW) Los Angeles Pride programs (1977, 1988, 1997).
    "L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Women’s Night 2002" program.
    Long Beach Pride programs (1998, 1999).
    MECLA: A Catalyst for Change agenda calendar (1985).
    "Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles: Celebrating 30 Amazing Years of Service to the Community" program (October 6, 1998).
    National Gay and Lesbian Task Force pamphlets (including for the 1998 "Creating Change" conference).
    "Overcoming Gay Domestic Violence, a Community United Against Violence" pamphlet.
    "Southern California Women for Understanding: Lesbian Rights Award Banquet" program (1990).
    We Are You: An Exploration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Colorado’s Jewish Community. A publication of Mosaic (2006).
    Separated to the ONE Archives book library (2012)
    Shokeid, Moshe. A Gay Synagogue. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995.
    Separated to the ONE Archives poster collection (2012)
    "I Do" Support the Freedom to Marry. Equality California | eqca.org. Red poster with white text and blue quotation marks; 14" x 16".
    Separated to the ONE Archives poster collection (2014)
    "Who will say Kaddish for me? / In memory of Jews who have died of AIDS. This quilt was presented to the NAMES Project by the Union of American Congergations Committee of AIDS. New Orleans, November 1989. / Photo by Lernie Warren / Designed by John Hirsch." Image of quilt with text "UAHC AIDS Committee / for those we've lost..." Posterboard. 24 x 20 inches.
    "www.AIDSWatch.org / World AIDS Day December 01, 1999 / a 24 hour worldwide memorial / add a person to remember / submit names to the 1999 AIDSWatch roster / submit a name." Poster includes flowers and a list of names.
    Real Girls: A Love Story. A special performance to benefit Beth Chayim Chadashim, September 9 [no year].
    Separated to the ONE Archives Non-LGBT cover story collection (2014)
    "Gay in America." San Francisco Examiner (June 4, 1989).
    "Homosexuality." Keeping Posted. v.32, no.2 (November 1986).
    "War against the 'Gays'." West Coast Review of Books. v.4, no.1 (January 1978).
    Separated to the ONE Archives T-shirt collection (2012)
    GAR0745 Text: Beth Chayim Chadashim. Graphic: Lambda symbol inside a Star of David inside a circle.
    GAR0752 Text: Beth Chayim Chadashim Shabbaton Malibu 1996. Graphic: Lambda symbol inside a Star of David shining down on a beach; graphic is square-shaped and bordered on its sides by text; green shirt. Context: Made for the Shabbaton retreat weekend.
    GAR0753 Text: Shabbat happens. Context: Original Shabbat happens slogan. 1997.
    GAR0754 Text: One in every minyan. Graphic: Nine white circles and one pink triangle in square black boxes. Context: Original slogan. circa 1996-1997.
    GAR0755 Graphic: Three adjacent boxes with Star of David backdrops: left says "BCC", middle has a graphic of an airplane, right has a map of Israel. Context: BCC trip to Israel. August 1999.
    GAR0756 Graphic: Beth Chayim Chadashim logo surrounded on the left, right, and bottom by hand written names. Context: Worn by Rabbi Lisa Edwards at a pride parade; lists members of Beth Chayim Chadashim who had died. circa 1996-1999.
    GAR0757 Text: Beth Chayim Chadashim Shabbaton Malibu 1996. Graphic: Lambda symbol inside a Star of David shining down on a beach; graphic is square-shaped and bordered on its sides by text; blue shirt. Context: Made for the Shabbaton retreat weekend.
    Separated to the ONE Archives audiovisual collection (2012)
    BCC History, Past Presidential Brunch, undated. (audiocassette)
    "Is Our Congregation Ready for a Gay or Lesbian Staff Member," 34 UAHC, Pacific Southwest Council Biennial Convention, undated. (audiocassette)
    Isaacson service, Beth Chayim Chadashim, May 2005. (VHS) (Hi8 MP 120 videotape master)
    Memorial service, Sol Halson, Larry Altman, tape #2, November 3, 1996. (audiocassette)
    High Holy Days services (first year), Beth Chayim Chadashim, September 1972. (3 audiocassettes)
    Separated to the ONE Archives audiovisual collection (2014)
    BCC over Broadway and another special event at Beth Chayim Chadashim, undated. (VHS)
    Berkovitz/Newman wedding ceremony, September 2, 2001. (VHS)
    Bridge II, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Shabbat service, December 1, 2006. (DVD)
    Bridges to Understanding, Beth Chayim Chadashim, morning service, Dr. Nazir Khaja and Rabbi Steven Jacobs dialog, April 22, 2006. (DVD)
    Bridges to Understanding, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Shabbat service, Dr. Nazir Khaja drash, April 21, 2006. (DVD)
    Bridges to Understanding, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Shabbat service, Wilshire Center Interfaith Council Presentation, March 24, 2006. (DVD)
    Bridges to Understanding III, Beth Chayim Chadashim, Shabbat service, April 13, 2007. (DVD)
    Bridges to Understanding III, Beth Chayim Chadashim, dialogs, April 14, 2007. (DVD)
    "Farewell to Sisterhood Bookstore: A Time for Remembering and Sharing," Westwood, California, July 17, 1999. (VHS)
    Hanukah service, Beth Chayim Chadashim, includes Lisa Edward's drash about her mother, 2001. (VHS)
    Memorial Service for Stu Z., Beth Chayim Chadashim, April 1995. (VHS)
    Poetry Reading Benefit for Sisterhood Bookstore, Rose Cafe, Venice, California, May 12, 1999. (VHS)
    Rabbi Lisa Edwards sermon, Beth Chayim Chadashim, April 28, 1993. (VHS)
    Rabbi Lisa Edwards baby naming and bris moments, Beth Chayim Chadashim, undated. (VHS)
    The Sisterhood Bookstore 25th Anniversary Celebration, Skirball Center, Los Angeles, November 23, 1997. (VHS)
    Steve and Steve, December 19, 1998. (VHS)
    Tracy Moore and Lisa Edwards on KTLA channel 9, May 1996. (VHS)
    Zol Zayn Shabbes, Beth Chayim Chadashim, recorded by Sylvia Sukop, June 16, 2006. (DVD) (2 8mm videotape)
    Unknown event. Beginning of reel reads "05424 Mr. Goldman 721EC27 Head." First images show marchers in the street with a sign reading "Teachers come out of the closet." (2 16mm reels)
    Separated to the ONE Archives button and sticker collections (2014)
    A round yellow button and bumper sticker with the text in dark blue "No on 64 / Stop LaRouche."

    Related Archival Materials

    Twice Blessed Collection, Coll2010-003, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder #, or item name] Beth Chayim Chadashim Records, Coll2012-133, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Jewish gay men
    Jewish lesbians
    Reform Judaism
    Synagogues--California--Los Angeles