Congregation Beth Simchat Torah Synagogue
57 Bethune St., New York, NY 10014 Phone: (212) 929-9498, Fax: (212) 620-3154 Website: www.cbst.org
We are a unique congregation committed to building a kehilla kedosha, a sacred community, built on a love of the Jewish people, a passion for social justice, prayer and study. We are a caring community, a home in which to celebrate life’s simchas, joys, as well as to grieve and mourn loss. Join us, not as a spectator, but as a member of the family, with rights and privileges, obligations and commitments. Together we can create a true kehilla kedosha.
Congregation Beth Simchat Torah is New York City’s synagogue for the New York metropolitan area’s 200,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews, as well as our families and friends. Founded in 1973, and under the leadership of Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum since 1992, CBST has become the largest GLBT synagogue in the world and arguably one of the most influential. CBST is an important voice in Judaism; in the worldwide discourse on the nature of religious community; and in the movement to secure basic civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the United States and throughout the world.
Congregation Beth Simchat Torah is New York’s gay synagogue, dedicated to the proposition that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews are wholly legitimate members of the Jewish People, are equally legitimate members of civil society and have a unique and essential contribution to make the life of Judaism and to the larger society in which we live. We are a diverse and inclusive congregation -whatever your sexual orientation and whatever your relationship to Judaism, you, your, family, and your friends are welcome to join us at CBST.
We are active in many dimensions through which we continually seek to transform ourselves from a collection of individuals into a spiritual community in which we can create a profound sense of purpose and meaning in our lives and in which we can experience the presence of God. We are a house of prayer, offering both traditional and liberal services within an egalitarian framework. We are seeking to develop the ritual, liturgical and theological heritage of Judaism to meet our widely ranging needs as a congregation.
We are a house of refuge and healing, offering community support as well as pastoral care for life passages and traumas experienced by gay Jews in a homophobic society. We are seeking to expand the range of services we can provide to all in our community who are in need. We are a house of celebration, rejoicing in our joint identities as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews. We are seeking to share our delight with everyone - Jewish or not, gay or not -everywhere and in every season.
We are a house of assembly, active in the pursuit of social justice. We a seeking to expand our commitment and scope as a center for advancing human rights, locally, nationally and throughout the world. We are committed to the people and the State of Israel, and we pray for peace and justice for all its people. We are a house of learning, continually expanding our knowledge and deepening our understanding of our religious and cultural heritage, both Jewish and gay. We are seeking to open this heritage to our congregation, to the gay and Jewish communities at large, and to the world.
We are a house of culture, celebrating our creativity. We are seeking to embrace and contribute to the whole range of our gay and Jewish musical, literary, and artistic traditions. We are a spiritual community, warm and nurturing, intense challenging. We are seeking to deepen our commitments to one another and to our sense of purpose as a significant voice in the gay community, in Judaism, and in the dialogue of religion and society. Even ma’asu habomim haitah l’rosh pinah-the stone that the builders rejected has indeed become the cornerstone. May God grant us the vision and the strength to continue with the building.
CBST’s membership has grown to over 800 households, representing singles and couples of every sexual orientation and gender identity, young and old, with and without children, from all walks of life, from every variety of Judaism-Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox-and from the most secular to the most observant. To meet the needs of this extraordinarily diverse congregation, we provide a broad spectrum of ritual observance and liturgy, ranging from very traditional to liberal to highly innovative. In order to be as inclusive as possible, CBST is not affiliated with any Jewish movement or denomination.