Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



LGBT synagogue celebrates 40 years
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 2256 times since Tue Apr 21, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Congregation Or Chadash ( Congregation of New Light ) began 40 years ago as a social club and support group for gay Jewish men and since then it has grown into a Reform congregation of over 80 LGBT and straight families, not all of whom are Jewish.

"The congregation was formed so that LGBT people who were also Jewish could gather in community for prayer, study and to celebrate holy days and significant moments of our lives together openly and as integrated beings—honoring and nurturing the wholeness of our beings: Jewish and LGBT—not needing to hide either essential aspect of our persons," said Congregation Or Chadash's Rabbi Cindy Enger. "In the past forty years, so much has changed."

The group began when Harold Goodman ran an ad in the Chicago Reader in October 1975 that said, "Gay Jewish Group — if you want to get together with other local gay Jews, call Tsvi [Harold] …" At first the men who answered Goodman's ad met at his home and when they outgrew that space the group began holding regular services at the Second Unitarian Church on Barry Street, where they stayed until 2002. The congregation then moved to its current home, Emanuel Congregation in Edgewater. They hold services in what they call the "Stonewall Chapel."

"I want for all people, LGBT and straight, to find something personally meaningful in their lives, something that will help them to truly connect with others in a way that is personal and intimate. Being Jewish, for me, is a major part of my life and as a gay man I wanted to meet others who had this same connection," said Goodman. "The original intention wasn't to start a religious group, a synagogue, since many gay and lesbian Jews were not primarily interested in that. What we wanted most of all was to connect with others like us; people who loved and honored our Jewishness and also were gay and lesbian."

"Forty years ago, it wasn't easy to be a gay Jew or a gay or lesbian anything so we were that welcoming and accepting group that we still are today. We have now have an ordained rabbi that happens to be a lesbian and that's amazing to me because for so many years we were a lay led congregation," said Norman Sandfield, longtime member and former board member and congregation president. " I think it surprises non-LGBT Jews that come to our services that we are just like other Jewish congregations."

Not long after forming, the congregation began holding celebrations every year at various restaurants and in 1999 the annual gathering turned into an official gala.

This year's annual gala will be held at the Hotel Allegro on Saturday, April 25, at 6-10:30 p.m. They will be honoring Judith Golden, cantorial soloist for the congregation, as well as two of the three founding members of the congregation, Bob Cohn and Frank Nussbaum. On the weekend of the gala celebration, the congregation and other religious communities across the country will be participating in the "National Weekend of Prayer for the Freedom to Marry."

"We were early adopters of gender neutral language and we rewrote the entire prayer book line by line to reflect that language. We also rewrote the Passover Seder prayer to be gender neutral," said Cohn. "It's wonderful that we are celebrating 40 years as a congregation. I'm so glad that the newer, younger members of our congregation have kept this going with their energy and dedication."

"Over the years, we've had gala honorees from outside of our congregation including LGBT allies and supporters such as Rep. Jan Schakowsky and state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz. Every year, we honor people from within our congregation but when someone seems deserving from outside our congregation we honor them as well," said Lilli Kornblum, longtime member and current congregation president. "This 40th-anniversary celebration recognizes the incredible dedication and commitment from our members and the community over the years. The fact that we continue to be a viable and active congregation is a strong sign that there is still a place for religious organizations such as Congregation Or Chadash that focus on the LGBT community."

Not only is the congregation celebrating 40 years of existence this year, they were also inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2007.

To purchase tickets for the gala, visit

See for more information.

This article shared 2256 times since Tue Apr 21, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

US Bishops' statement limits trans health care in Catholic health care facilities, DignityUSA responds 2023-03-22
--From a DignityUSA press release - On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine released a policy statement on how Catholic medical institutions should treat transgender and nonbinary people. Entitled "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to ...

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event 2023-03-18
- Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...

Gay News

Protest held outside New Life Covenant Church over alleged anti-LGBTQ practices 2023-03-13
- Now-former New Life Covenant Church parishioner Rosaly Andino, who is a lesbian, and her allies gathered across the street from the church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood March 12 to protest alleged anti-LGBTQ practices by Pastor David Marrero. ...

Gay News

Patriarch Kirill: Darth Putin's Altar Boy 2023-03-01
- Christianity—based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who preached love as the most important expression of religion—has often been co-opted and distorted to support wars, persecutions and ...

Gay News

WORLD Church of England, Japanese officials, Hong Kong ruling, drag kings 2023-02-11
- The Church of England has voted to bless same-sex marriages for the first time in its history; however, its ban on conducting ceremonies will stay in place, PinkNews reported. It was approved after a six-year consultation ...

Gay News

Pope criticizes anti-gay laws after Africa trip 2023-02-07
- On Feb. 5, Pope Francis—along with the head of the Anglican Communion and top Presbyterian minister—denounced the criminalization of homosexuality and said churches should welcome gay people, Time reported. The ...

Gay News

Lesbian Singles Over 45 event Feb. 11 2023-02-03
--From a press release - Queer Ministries of Lincoln United Methodist Church (LUMC) is hosting the 1st Annual Lesbian Singles Event Over 45 on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.Lincoln United Methodist Church Community Center located a ...

Gay News

Pope says being gay no crime, cites anti-LGBTQ laws in 70 countries. LGBTQ leaders respond 2023-01-25
--From press releases - (January 25, 2023) — Pope Francis called laws that criminalize same-sex relationships "unjust," stating that "being homosexual is not a crime" in an interview with the Associated Press today. The Pope also called for the Roman ...

Gay News

Letter to the Editor: Pope Benedict XVI passes away 2023-01-02
- The Rainbow Sash Movement mourns the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Dec. 31 in the Vatican. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, known most recently as the pontiff who renounced the papacy—but who was situated squarely ...

Gay News

Dignity USA: LGBTQ+ Catholics recall Pope Benedict XVI's reign as causing LGBTQ+s tremendous damage 2022-12-31
-- From a press release - Dec. 31, 2022. The passing of former Pope Benedict XVI "marks what is, hopefully, the end of a long, painful era for LGBTQIA+ Catholics, our families, and the entire church," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Redford won't follow Babs back to the well, and all the dish you need 2022-12-19
- "These gays — they're trying to murder me!" — Jennifer Coolidge's character, Tanya, on The White Lotus finale. Here's a headline that grabbed me: "Florida man busted for public sex with dog, wrecking church nativity scene". ...

Gay News

Pfleger reinstated at St. Sabina after abuse investigation ends 2022-12-11
- On Dec. 10, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago reinstated activist/St. Sabina leader Father Michael Pfleger following an investigation into abuse allegations against the priest, The Chicago Tribune reported. Pfleger was forced away from the church in ...

Gay News

Respect for Marriage Act passage important step but not equity says LGBTQIA+/ally Catholic group 2022-12-09
-- From a press release - Dec. 8, 2022. DignityUSA, the nation's foremost organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in our church and society, is pleased that both houses of Congress have now passed the ...

Gay News

WORLD Church of England, World Cup news, court rulings, Justin Trudeau 2022-11-27
- The Church of England is defending the scrutinized guidance for its 4,700 primary schools on LGBTQ+ issues, claiming that it doesn't allow students as young as 5 to self-identify as the opposite sex, The Christian Post ...

Gay News

NATIONAL $1M donation, church departures, Harvey Milk, abortions, Grindr 2022-11-27
- In Ohio, Dayton-based insurance company CareSource is donating $1 million to United Church Homes to support the development of a senior living facility at the site of the former Longfellow School that will also aim at ...


Copyright © 2023 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      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.