Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-12-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Congregation Or Chadash marks 35 years with gala
by Joseph Erbentraut, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

When Congregation Or Chadash (or "New Light," in Hebrew) was first founded in 1975, it was little more than a social and support group of LGBT people of the Jewish faith meeting in one others' homes after responding to a newspaper ad. At the time, it was the first group of its kind in Chicago and one of only a handful of similar organizations throughout the United States.

Thirty five years later, the Edgewater-based, full-service Jewish synagogue has expanded considerably while still remaining focused on what has been their mission from the start: to offer a welcoming space affirming of LGBT Jews' full identities.

In celebration of its anniversary, Congregation Or Chadash hosted its annual gala at the Hotel Allegro March 5. In addition to hosting a silent auction, dinner and a lively Havdalah service, Or Chadash also took the opportunity to honor three individuals who members felt helped make achieving that milestone possible. This year's honorees included past congregation president Marvin Levin; longtime member Burl Covan; and Bill Greaves, director of Chicago's Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

Or Chadash Rabbi Larry Edwards said he doubted the synagogue's founders "ever could have imagined that it would become this and that it would last this long." At the time of its founding, Edwards has been told, other synagogues flat-out refused requests to borrow prayer books—a sign of the widespread prejudice found within the community. Today, he said, many other congregations have asked to join forces with the group.

"It's been a really important thing for a lot of people," Edwards said. "They are very welcoming, open-minded folks but are also very committed to never to forget that we were strangers. But that's very Jewish. We were strangers in the land of Egypt. We know what it means to be strangers, so you'd better welcome the stranger so that's what we do."

Or Chadash Co-President Lilli Kornblum said the synagogue's evolution into what it has become today was gradual, but has also had a lasting impact on the broader Jewish community. As a result of the organization's presence, many reform Jewish congregations in particular are much more welcoming places for LGBT members than they were at the time of Or Chadash's founding.

"We fought for acceptance for so long and the funny thing is, now that we've been successful, we suddenly have competition," Kornblum said. "I think that competition wouldn't have arisen or that acceptance would have taken a lot longer if they hadn't grew up with the example of dedicated people who are gay, lesbian, trans, bi and dedicated to their religion."

Despite the broader acceptance the congregation has found within the Jewish faith, Kornblum added that Or Chadash remains just as vital as ever. The synagogue offers a variety of programming specifically geared toward the LGBT community, not to mention increased odds of "meeting your kind of nice Jewish girl or boy for friendship or romance," as its website's Frequently Asked Questions page notes.

"We do have choices now and we fought for those choices," she said. "We're happy and really proud to still be here."

Greaves said he was surprised and honored to be recognized by Or Chadash, an organization he holds in high regard for representing the "strength and resilience of our community." He specifically commended the synagogue for its vocalness in standing up against a protest led by the Westboro Baptist Church in 2007 and its leadership in holding a Chicago vigil in honor of the victims of an attack at a Tel Aviv LGBT youth center in 2009.

"Or Chadash has been an open and welcoming congregation and not only a role model for our community, but also an ambassador for our community to others throughout the entire city," Greaves said.

Congregation Or Chadash was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2006 and is affiliated with both the Union for Reform Judaism and the World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Jewish Organizations.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


DignityUSA condemns Pope Francis' book 2018-12-10
Affinity Community Services plans Burning Bowl 2018, will honor Kim Hunt 2018-12-04
DignityUSA responds to Pope Francis' new book, excluding gay people 2018-12-03
Activists protest pastor's removal of gay teen over his clothing choices 2018-11-21
Local minister ejects gay parishioner for wearing 'women's clothes' 2018-11-18
Trans Israeli activist speaks at Temple Sholom 2018-11-15
Nigerian activist in Glen Ellyn on Nov. 18 2018-11-14
Tree of Life vigil draws hundreds 2018-10-30
Chicago Jewish groups kick off Keshet's LGBTQ inclusive Leadership Project 2018-10-29
Archbishop's comment explains why Church is in so much trouble 2018-10-10
Bishop Phyllis V. Pennese on leadership, 15-year anniversary 2018-10-10
WORLD Rabbis clash, fatal attack, pro-transgender motion 2018-09-25
Cardinal Cupich removes priest from Resurrection parish who burned rainbow flag 2018-09-22
Peaceful assembly protests Rainbow flag burning at Resurrection Catholic Church 2018-09-20
Chicago priest, parishioners burn Rainbow flag in defiance of Archdiocese orders 2018-09-19
LGBTQ+ family group Fortunate Families responds to Cathlolic clerical abuse 2018-09-14
Local priest's planned Rainbow flag burning shut down by Chicago Archdiocese 2018-09-11
Pope must now also oppose death penalty for being LGBTQI says U.S. Catholic group 2018-08-06
Lighthouse holding sermons with Beyonce hits 2018-08-02
DignityUSA Mourns Death of Retired Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen 2018-07-24
HRC Releases New "Coming Home" Faith Guide for LGBTQ Evangelical Christians 2018-07-12
Church coalition hosts Pride brunch 2018-07-05
Sharing Light, Sharing Faith in Divided Times, Welcoming Churches Pride Brunch 2018-06-08
Can the LGBTQ community trust Pope Francis? 2018-05-30
Gay Catholic Group calls on Pope to Reverse Comments on Gay Applicants to Priesthood 2018-05-29
WORLD Gay artist, Pope Francis, OutRight gala 2018-05-22
Pope's Words to Gay Survivor of Sexual Abuse Have Dogma-Transforming Ramifications 2018-05-21
WORLD Pope Francis, Jamaica official, Pakistani trans murder 2018-04-24
Racial-justice workshop April 28 at Univ. Church 2018-04-24
Free Interactive Workshop on Racial Justice, April 28 at University Church 2018-04-19
VIEWPOINT Catholic LGBTQIs see mixed record in first five years of Francis papacy 2018-04-18
Ex-Focus on the Family daughter refocuses her life mission 2018-04-11
VIEWPOINTS Cardinal Cupich, Church and families 2018-03-28
WORLD London posters, gay clergyman, 'Call Me By Your Name' 2018-03-27
Gun-control activists meet with Pfleger 2018-03-21
LGBTQI Catholics See Mixed Record in Five Years of Francis Papacy, Offer Dialogue 2018-03-13
Anti-LGBTQ "First Amendment Defense Act" proposed by GOP senators, HRC responds 2018-03-08
VIEWPOINTS Billy Graham's ministry of LGBTQ intolerance 2018-03-07
PFLAG Celebrates 45th Year of Leading on Family Acceptance 2018-03-05
Proud and Included marks anniversary 2018-03-05

Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.