Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah ("CBST") is a synagogue located in Manhattan, New York City. It was founded in 1973 and describes itself as the world's largest LGBT synagogue. CBST serves Jews of all sexual orientations and gender identities, their families, and their friends. Members commute from as far away as the Bronx and New Jersey. The congregation is led by Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum 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. In addition, the synagogue rents the Jacob Javits Convention Center for Yom Kippur services, which draw over 4,000 people.
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. The new space is located in the landmarked SJM Building designed by noted architect Cass Gilbert and built in 1927–28. 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.
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