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Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

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Title: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah  
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Subject: Sharon Kleinbaum, United States v. Windsor, Polyamory, Homosexuality and Judaism
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Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

CBST redirects here. For the defunct television station in Sept-Îles, Quebec that used the CBST callsign, see CJBR-DT.

The entrance to 130 West 30th Street, designed by Cass Gilbert, where the synagogue has purchased space to become their first permanent home.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah ("CBST") is a Jewish synagogue located in Manhattan, New York City. It was founded in 1973[1] and describes itself as the world's largest LGBT synagogue.[2] CBST serves Jews of all sexual orientations and gender identities, their families, and their friends.[3] Members commute from as far away as the Bronx and New Jersey.[4] The congregation is led by Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum[5] and Associate Rabbi Rachel Weiss. It is not affiliated with any denomination or branch of Judaism.


The congregation, founded in 1973 by twelve gay Jewish men, originally met in Chelsea's Church of the Holy Apostles and brought its prayer materials to services each week. In 1978 they began renting space in the West Village at 57 Bethune Street, in the Westbeth Artists Community residential-artistic complex, for offices, a Hebrew school, and a sanctuary with a capacity of 300 which they use for Saturday morning services, while continuing to hold Friday night services in the church.[6] In addition, the synagogue rents the Jacob Javits Convention Center for Yom Kippur services, which draw over 4,000 people.[7]

Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum celebrated her 20 year anniversary with CBST in 2012.[8][9]

New building

In June 2011, after 16 years of searching for a home, the congregation purchased a large space in midtown Manhattan, in a commercial condominium at 130 West 30th Street between the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue) and Seventh Avenue.[10][11] The new space will be located in the landmarked SJM Building designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert and built in 1927-28, and expect to move into the space in 2013.[12]

Notable members

See also


Further reading

  • Kleinbaum, Rabbi Sharon (ed.)Siddur B'Chol L'vav'cha: With All Your Heart: The New CBST Siddur Bchol Lvavcha for Friday Night[15][16]
  • Shokeid, Moshe. A Gay Synagogue in New York[17]


  1. ^ "The LGBTQ Synagogue / About". Mission & Vision. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Lemberger, Michal (March 11, 2013). "Gay Synagogues’ Uncertain Future: As mainstream acceptance grows—along with membership—gay congregations face unexpected questions". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Weiss, Anthony. "Gay Acceptance and Gay Synagogues". Keshet Ga'avah: The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Wiener, Julie (June 23, 2010). "CBST’s ‘Gay-by Boom’". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Bet Simchat Torah, New York City". Religion & Culture: Meeting the Challenge of Pluralism (a Ford Foundation project). Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  6. ^ Dunlap, David W. From Abyssinian to Zion. (2004) New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12543-7, pp.98-99
  7. ^ Allen, Dan. "High Holy Days for NYC's LGBT Community: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah Opens Its Doors for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur". Local - Manhattan, NY. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (October 17, 2012). "New York rabbi celebrates 20 years at LGBT synagogue". Washington Blade. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Hoffman, Allison (May 3, 2013). "New York’s New Firebrand Rabbi: For Sharon Kleinbaum—friend of Christine Quinn, partner to Randi Weingarten—the personal is political". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  10. ^ Dunlap, David W. (August 8, 2011). "‘Gay Synagogue’ Finds a Home, Full of Ancient Assyrians". The New York Times (City Room). Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Dunlap, David W. (June 21, 2012). "Designing a Synagogue for a Gay Congregation, With Acoustics in Mind". The New York Times (City Room (digital); Designing a Synagogue For a Gay Congregation (NewYork edition)). p. A22. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Chandler, Doug (July 26, 2011). "In A Move Freighted With Symbolism, CBST Purchases First Home". The Jewish Week. 
  13. ^ Hoffman, Allison (September 28, 2012). "Jewish Organizations Join DOMA Appeal: The case of Edie Windsor finds allies in the Jewish community". Tablet Magazine. The Scroll: Tablet Magazine in the News. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  14. ^ Kampeas, Ron (June 28, 2013). "Edie Windsor’s lawyer and the daughters of Zelophehad (includes drash)". Telegraph: Blogging Jewish News and Culture. JTA: The Global Jewish News Service. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Blumenthal, David R. (28 June 2010). "Siddur B'Chol L'vav'cha: With All Your Heart - By Congregation Beth Simchat Torah". Reviews in Religion & Theology 17 (3): 341–344.  
  16. ^ Harris, Ben (June 2, 2009). "Gay synagogue’s new siddur arrives". JTA: The Global Jewish News Source (Telegraph: Blogging Jewish News and Culture). Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  17. ^ Shokeid, Moshe (1995). A gay synagogue in New York. New York: Columbia University Press.  

External links

  • Official website
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