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Finding aid to the Beth Chayim Chadashim records, 1948, 1967-2012 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
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation

  • 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: 22.95 linear feet. 12 archive boxes + 4 archive flat boxes + 3 archive binder boxes + 2 archive cartons
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1972-2012
    Date (inclusive): 1948, 1967-2012
    Abstract: The collection consists of administrative and 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, 1967-2012. 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

    Processing of this collection has been funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and Wells Fargo.
    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.


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

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of administrative and 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, 1967-2012. Records dated prior to the founding of the temple in 1972 consist exclusively of religious texts. The administrative records include meeting minutes, membership records, records of the president, correspondence, and other operational records. The financial records include bank statements, ledgers, receipts, and budget reports. 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, T-shirts, 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 language 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.
    Edited from the Beth Chayim Chadashim website (c) 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 November 2012.


    This collection is arranged in the following series:
    Series 1. Administrative records, 1972-2012
    Series 2. Financial records, 1972-2007
    Series 3. Outreach and event records, 1972-2012
    Series 4. Religious services records, 1948, 1967-2011
    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, 1972-2011

    Separated Materials

    Separated to the ONE Archives periodical collection:
    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 ONE Archives pamphlet, program, and calendar collections:
    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).
    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:
    Shokeid, Moshe. A Gay Synagogue. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995.
    Separated to the ONE Archives poster collection:
    "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 T-shirt collection:
    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.
    Deaccessioned materials:
    Compass, v.46, no.2 (Winter-Spring 1994).
    Conservative Judaism, v.40, no.4 (Summer 1988).
    Israel and Palestine Political Report, no.193.
    Life. "Israel’s Swift Victory" (1967).
    Life. "The Spirit of Israel: 25th Anniversary" (1973).
    The Progressive (December 1994).
    SA Briefings: Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (Spring 1990).
    Tri-Ethnic Research Project, Research Report #25. University of Colorado. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco on November 24, 1963.
    The Workman’s Circle/Arbeter Ring’s Annual Awards Banquet and Silent Auction program, Southern California District (November 2, 2003).

    Related Archival Materials

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

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections 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.

    Preferred Citation

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

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Jewish gay men
    Jewish lesbians
    Reform Judaism