Meet The World’s First LGBTQ Synagogue

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11/27/2018

Since opening its doors in 1972 in Los Angeles, Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC), which means “house of new life,” has offered a Reform, progressive space for LGBT Jewish individuals who had previously been excluded from religious environments. Considered the first of its kind, the BCC came to fruition only a few years after the Stonewall riots and not a moment too soon: Less than 10 years later, it would find itself supporting its community through the heartache and hardships of the AIDS epidemic that took several of its members. In 1994, Beth Chayim Chadashim appointed Rabbi Lisa Edwards to the position of head rabbi, making her BCC’s first openly gay rabbi at ordination to lead the temple. Since that time, Edwards has remained a pillar of strength and guidance within the temple, marrying same-sex couples, nurturing the growth of BCC’s families, and leading her community through difficult times, such as the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh just last month.

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