The First LGBTQ+ Synagogue in the U.S.
Beth Chayim Chadashim’s (BCC) first service was held on June 9, 1972 in Los Angeles, California. BCC is the first primarily LGBT synagogue in the United States. BCC, which at the time was known as the Metropolitan Community Temple, began with fifteen members and held services in the local community center. BCC grew and prospered under the leadership of its first rabbi, Erwin Herman (1923-2008), a Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion graduate who saw to it that the congregation was accepted into the UAHC in 1974, assisted in securing a Torah that had been rescued from the Holocaust, and who led services and classes. The papers of Rabbi Herman are preserved at the AJA, which seeks to collect the historical records of LGBT Jewish congregations and leaders in North America.