Open main menu

Coordinates: 40°44′13″N 74°00′31″W / 40.737047°N 74.008652°W / 40.737047; -74.008652

The entrance to 130 West 30th Street, designed by Cass Gilbert, the location of the synagogue's first permanent home.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah ("CBST") is a 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 Assistant Rabbi Yael Rapport. 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 buildingEdit

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 is located in the landmarked SJM Building designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert and built in 1927–28.[12] Ground was broken in 2013 and construction was completed in 2016. The "Dedication of Our New Home" was marked that year with a celebration on April 3.[13]

Notable membersEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "The LGBTQ Synagogue / About". Mission & Vision. Retrieved October 14, 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 October 14, 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 October 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Wiener, Julie (June 23, 2010). "CBST's 'Gay-by Boom'". The Jewish Week. Retrieved October 14, 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 October 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Dunlap, David W. (2004). From Abyssinian to Zion: A Guide to Manhattan's Houses of Worship. 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 October 14, 2013.
  8. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (October 17, 2012). "New York rabbi celebrates 20 years at LGBT synagogue". Washington Blade. Retrieved October 14, 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 October 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Dunlap, David W. (August 8, 2011). "'Gay Synagogue' Finds a Home, Full of Ancient Assyrians". The New York Times. City Room. Retrieved October 14, 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 October 14, 2013.
  12. ^ Chandler, Doug (July 26, 2011). "In A Move Freighted With Symbolism, CBST Purchases First Home". The Jewish Week.
  13. ^ "Our History, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah". Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  14. ^ Rogovoy, Seth (March 20, 2018). "The Secret Jewish History of Cynthia Nixon". The Forward. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  15. ^ 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 October 14, 2013.
  16. ^ 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 October 14, 2013.

Further reading

External linksEdit

  • ^ Blumenthal, David R. (June 28, 2010). "Siddur B'Chol L'vav'cha: With All Your Heart – By Congregation Beth Simchat Torah". Reviews in Religion & Theology. 17 (3): 341–344. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9418.2010.00579.x.
  • ^ Harris, Ben (June 2, 2009). "Gay synagogue's new siddur arrives". JTA: The Global Jewish News Source (Telegraph: Blogging Jewish News and Culture). Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  • ^ Shokeid, Moshe (1995). A gay synagogue in New York. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231084604.