Beit Ha'Chidush

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Beit Ha'Chidush (meaning House of Renewal in Hebrew) (BHC) is a Jewish congregation founded in 1995 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, by Jews who at that time didn't feel at home anymore in the existing Jewish congregations. Beit Ha'Chidush is known for its tolerant point of view towards accepting homosexuals and 'father Jews' (people with a Jewish father, meaning that they are not Jewish according to the Halakha) as a member of the congregation.[1] The first Rabbi for the community was German-born Elisa Klapheck, the first female rabbi in the history of the Netherlands. As of October 2015, the rabbi is Tamarah Benima.[2]


In 1995, a number of both secular as well as religious Jews, unsatisfied with the present Jewish congregations, made the move of starting their own congregation, different from the existing Jewish organs. The first shabbat service of Beit Ha'Chidush was soon to be held on December 1, 1995. Several rabbis - mostly from progressive Jewish communities overseas - were in charge of the services. This changed on May 1, 2005, when German-born Elisa Klapheck became the community's first own rabbi; she is the first female rabbi in Dutch Jewish history.

The community currently has some 50 active members, 50 'friends' and another 100 persons who visit services and activities on occasion. A new Torah was welcomed in the community on May 23, 2007. There are currently plans under way within the community to work together with the NVPJ on issues like Jewish burial and the circumcision of gerim.[3]


Beit Ha'Chidush has strong ties to Jewish Renewal and Reconstructionist Judaism in the United States, and Liberal Judaism in the United Kingdom. A large part of the BHC community hails from outside the Netherlands. The founding members of Beit Ha'Chidush were very much in favor of establishing a new community which was more diverse, open and renewed in comparison to the already existing Jewish communities in the Netherlands. Because of that, people who can become member of BHC include people who have one or two parents who were considered Jewish during their generation. This makes it possible for so-called 'father Jews' to become member, which is unique within the Dutch Jewish community. The community is also very open towards homosexuals; no distinction is made on basis of gender and sexual orientation.


  • BHC is a big supporter of the Queer Shabbaton event, an annual weekend for LGBT Jews from all over the world held in 2005 and 2006 during the Amsterdam Gay Pride.[4] The event takes place at the Uilenburger Synagogue. Since then there is an annual Gay Pride shabbat service.
  • The community place of worship is the Uilenburger Synagoge (Uilenburger Synagogue) in Amsterdam.


  1. ^ Beit Ha'Chidush: a community consisting of Jews with at least one Jewish parent Archived 25 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Levisson Institute. Accessed 22 April (in Dutch)
  2. ^ "Tamarah Benima nieuwe rabbijn Beit Ha'Chidush" (in Dutch). Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  3. ^ The voice of God speaks over the IJ Trouw. Accessed 7 June (in Dutch)
  4. ^ Article on Queer Shabbaton Trouw. Accessed 22 April (in Dutch)

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