The Storylines Project


felicia-1Temple 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.

To reflect the unique history of the congregation as they moved to a new home, architects Toni Lewis and Marc Schoeplein envisioned a project that involved the entire community, physically and spiritually, working together to create a centerpiece for the new
sanctuary. What emerged became known as the StoryLines.

At a series of community workshops, the congregation was invited to come write their individual stories, accounts of what BCC has meant in their own lives. Each participant was then given a thin copper strip, on which they hand-etched a piece of their story: a sentence or a few words containing
memories, wishes or thoughts for the future of the synagogue. Collected, these 250 unique copper strips form the StoryLines.

The StoryLines now form the main wall of the bimah, installed on wood building blocks which surround glass ark doors, created for the new building by
artists in the BCC community. The copper strips overlap and intertwine each other and the ark itself, in the same way that the stories they hold are forever interconnected in creating the unique community that is Beth Chayim Chadashim.

Over the coming years the StoryLines will continue to grow. The ark wall panels are removable so that new copper strips can be added as new members join BCC with their own stories to tell. As architect Marc Schoeplein wrote on his own StoryLine: “I hope that what we can bring to it is simply a starting point.”

Didn’t have a chance to write your story-line for the BCC Bimah wall before construction? Couldn’t picture what it was? Joined BCC since 2010? Please join resident BCC writing teachers Bonnie Kaplan and Sylvia Sukop to write your BCC story line and transfer it to copper. The strips will be installed another day. This workshop is only for those who are BCC members and did not participate the first time.

Sunday, January 26, 2014, 3-5pm BCC


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