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Congregation Beth Ahavah records

 Collection
Identifier: Ms-Coll-6
The Beth Ahavah Papers primarily document the first decade of activities sponsored by Beth Ahavah, a gay and lesbian synagogue in Philadelphia. Beth Ahavah donated the papers to the Library/Archives in 1987.

Besides information specifically about Beth Ahavah, the collection includes extensive documentation of the International Conferences of Gay and Lesbian Jews and information from other gay and lesbian synagogues. Other papers in the collection trace Beth Ahavah's interaction with non-Jewish gay groups and non-gay Jewish groups.

A small percentage of the papers have been embargoed for 50 years from their creation date to maintain the privacy of individual members and employees. For additional material about congregation Beth Ahavah, see its newsletter, The Shofar, in the Library/Archives' General Ephemera Collection.

The collection is organized into six series: "I. History"; "II. Financial records"; "III. Organizational records"; "IV. Correspondence"; "V. Material from other organizations"; and "VI. Reference files." A folder-level inventory is provided below.

Dates

  • 1974 - 1987

Creator

General Physical Description note

2 record cartons

Conditions Governing Access Note

A small percentage of the records have been embargoed for 50 years from their creation date to maintain the privacy of individual members and employees. Contact John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

Beth Ahavah was founded in 1975 as an LGBT synagogue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Beth Ahavah is an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism and still active as of 2012. The Beth Ahavah records, 1974-1987, consist of administrative records (correspondence), membership records, financial records, and event/program records.

Biographical/Historical Note

Congregation Beth Ahavah was founded in September 1975 as a community and religious organization for lesbian and gay Jews and their family and friends. Services and social events were originally held in members' homes. Beth Ahavah moved to Dignity House (252 S. 12th Street, Philadelphia) in 1977, and to 2116 Walnut Street, Philadelphia in 1980. Beth Ahavah relocated to 8 Letitia Street, Philadelphia, in 1992. In 1990, Beth Ahavah became an affiliate of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the central body of the Reform Jewish movement in the U.S. This marked the first time the congregation officially aligned itself with a particular branch of Judaism. In July 2007 Beth Ahavah affiliated with Congregation Rodeph Shalom. Beth Ahavah retains its congregational status within the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and its membership in the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga'avah.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Gift of Congregation Beth Ahavah, 1987.

Related Archival Materials Note

American Jewish Archives: Congregation Beth Ahavah nearprint geography file.

General Physical Description note

2 record cartons

Processing Information Note

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), using data provided by the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia. The HCI-PSAR project was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was done in the HCI-PSAR project.
Title
Congregation Beth Ahavah records, 1974-1987
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia.
Description rules
dacs
Sponsor
This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. LGBT Archives, William Way LGBT Community Center Repository

Contact:
1315 Spruce Street
Philadelphia PA 19107
215-732-2220