Beth Chayim Chadashim is first synagogue for gay, lesbian Jews

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09/15/2023

My friend, Harriet Perl, of blessed memory, lived well into her 90s and died in 2013. A life-long lesbian, Harriet had been an L.A. public high school teacher back in the day when that meant staying closeted or risking losing your job. It affected every aspect of her life, from clothes to housing to social life – from bedroom arrangements (separate bedrooms or at least twin beds) to where and with whom to appear in public. Although born Jewish, Harriet’s parents were secular and political. Harriet followed their lead until one Friday evening in the early 1970s when she timidly ventured into a Sabbath service in a new “gay shul” she had heard about.

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