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Our History

In June, 1991 the Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County sponsored a panel discussion at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, NJ called, Bridging the Gap: Welcoming Gays and Lesbians to the Synagogue. During the question and answer portion of the program, one attendee remarked that a havurah in NJ was needed as many of us travel to NYC or Philadelphia to be with other Gay and Lesbian Jews.

During the schmooze time following the presentation, another attendee took names and phone numbers of those interested in the idea of a Jewish/Gay group in the suburbs. Five people signed-up and the two attendees spent the next three hours in the Temple Emanu-El parking lot talking about this exciting idea.

Our ties to Temple Emanu-El became clear as Rabbi Alfred Landsberg insisted on hosting the first meeting at the Temple. At that first meeting, 16 people showed up and began the process of developing a safe, inclusive place for the Jewish GLBT community in NJ.

From the earliest days, the Havurah has worked to develop programs appealing to all aspects of our community: social, educational, religious, and cultural. We have grown from 16 to over 125 members. We have comforted each other in times of trouble and grief; celebrated births and adoptions, marriages, bar/bat mitzvahs together; enjoyed holidays together; partied together; learned together; and made lasting friendships.

Havurah Highlights

1991

September

We built our first sukkah

November

We led our first religious service on Saturday 11/9 at Temple Emanu-El

1992

February

First Rainbow Mountain weekend

July

First issue of Kesher

September

A Planning Committee was formed (this started out as the steering committee and then became “the Board of Trustees ”)

September

Friday night Shabbat Services began

1993

June

We developed a Gay Pride Seder

December

NJLGH, Inc. became incorporated as a 501(C)(3) organization

1994

June

Havurah t-shirts were everywhere at the 3rd NJ Gay Pride Parade and Celebration when it was moved from Saturday to Sunday.

October

First Board of Trustees was formed and our first President was elected

1995

October

Our second President was elected

1996

October

Our third President was elected

March

We held our first Havurah Passover Seder

1997

February

We introduced our new Siddur—an effort of many members over many years—at the Shabbat Service at Rainbow Mountain.

1998

June

We began to plan “Horizons 2000”

October

Our fourth President was elected

1999

October

We organized and hosted a Comedy Night fundraiser for the Horizons 2000 conference.

2000

January

We began a new tradition, a New Year’s Day Brunch

July

We hosted the world at Horizons 2000.

October

Our fifth President was elected

2001

November

We celebrated our 10th anniversary

2002

October

Our sixth President was elected

October
Board meetings moved from our members' home to the Temple Emanu-El Library

2003

March
The first of our Singles Events was held
August
We inaugurated the first of our Coffee Nights
November
We hosted a Havurah-PFLAG Family & Friends brunch
All Year
Our own Baby Boom started at the end of 2002

2004

February
We began making monthly Tzedakah donations
July 10
Domestic Partnership Legislation went into effect in NJ
October
First Orthodykes meeting
October
Our seventh President was elected
November
Our themed program planning meetings began with Champagne Taste-Havurah Ideas

2005

April
We hosted our first Passover Wine Tasting

2006

March
More than 50 people attended a riotous Purim Karaoke Party!
March
We celebrated our 15th Anniversary
NJLGH, Inc. | PO Box 2576 | Edison, NJ 08818 | info@njhav.org
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