Lewis Schoeplein

Beth Chayim Chadashim

PROJECT TYPE  Sacred Space
LOCATION  Los Angeles, CA
Eric Staudenmeier / Kenna Love

Temple Beth Chayim Chadashim was founded in 1972 as the world’s first synagogue for gay and lesbian Jews.  Embraced from the start by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), BCC has been a pioneering community for over 40 years.

In 2011 BCC purchased a 6,000sf retail building one block from their previous location.  The masonry building was structurally upgraded and completely re-imagined for religious use.  To ease the transition from busy Pico Boulevard, a new entry was created on a side street, allowing an indoor-outdoor connection to the parking area, which serves dual-purpose as a gathering space for large community events.

The plan, which saved only the exterior walls, ensures that all rooms can be multi-purpose, with classrooms opening through large doors to a shared lobby space, planned to accommodate social gatherings and meals before or after services.  A glass wall lets light into the sanctuary space, beyond.  The wall is designed to highlight stained glass created by congregation members.

The sanctuary space is flexible, designed to accommodate worship services of different sizes and styles, as well as concerts, meetings and community gatherings. The community kitchen is also multi-functional, serving as a workspace and community gathering space, and can even be shuttered with a large garage door to function as a more proper meeting room if needed. The temple offices are light and friendly, allowing for a mix of full-time and volunteer staff.

The stained glass windows (above), were designed and fabricated by members of the congregation, and brought over from the synagogue’s previous building. A wall between the sanctuary and lobby / social hall was created to highlight them as a beloved part of the congregation’s history.

The community was invited to inscribe strips of copper to be added to the ark, at the front of the sanctuary. New strips can be added over time as the congregation grows, and the ark will patina with the dreams, wishes and prayers of the entire community, knit together as one.

As published in:

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google