Congregation Beth Ahavah Records

Span Dates: 1974-1987
Bulk Dates:
Volume: 1.5 linear feet


This collection consists of administrative records (correspondence), membership records, financial records, and event/program records. 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.

Hist/Bio 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. Additional material about congregation Beth Ahavah can be found in its newsletter, The Shofar, available in the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia.

Finding Aid

An online finding aid is available. 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.


John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives of Philadelphia, 1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107


Jewish (ethnic, Reform, Reconstructionist, Orthodox) | Jewish (Reform) | World Congress: Keshet Ga'avah (formerly International Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jews) | Philadelphia | Pennsylvania