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Gay NYC Synagogue's New Look To Be Unveiled Tomorrow


After nearly 40 years, New York City's gay synagogue, Beth Simchat Torah, will soon have a space worthy of its growing congregation, and the designs will finally be revealed tomorrow.

From the New York Times:

The congregation will occupy a three-level storefront space at 130 West 30th Street, a designated landmark in the garment district. It bought the space as a condominium last year for $7.1 million.

The sanctuary itself will be at the back of the building. With a small balcony, the hall will hold about 290 people. They will face a roughly textured cast concrete wall that is gently canted outward to capture daylight coming into the building’s rear yard. The ark will occupy a large niche that appears to have been carved out of the wall.

Beth Simchat still has about $17 million to raise for the project, but before that, you can take a look at the proposed designs, including a computer animated version of the synagogue's activist Rabbi, Sharon Kleinbaum, AFTER THE JUMP.




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  1. New space looks lovely and I wish them the best.

    As with all fancy religious edifices, tho' I wonder where else the funds could go? 7.1 million for the space and 17 million more? How much suffering could we end with $34 million?

    Posted by: Christopher | Jun 22, 2012 12:34:40 AM

  2. there will always be poor among us.

    Posted by: Markt | Jun 22, 2012 12:41:25 AM

  3. there will always be poor among us.

    Posted by: Markt | Jun 22, 2012 12:41:26 AM

  4. there will always be poor among us.

    Posted by: Markt | Jun 22, 2012 12:41:27 AM

  5. and your point is?

    Posted by: Christopher | Jun 22, 2012 12:51:02 AM

  6. I agree with you Christopher 100%. How many people could we feed? Clothe? Shelter?

    It's complicated. If the Temple donates to charities then in the long run it may be a better. I personally don't think it is...

    I think it may be better to put that money in high interest earning accounts and then donate the interest. That way it is a constant flow of funds.

    Religion is a useless piece of poo.

    Posted by: justin | Jun 22, 2012 2:11:42 AM

  7. CBST is a terrific, community-minded community that generously supports all kinds of community-based initiatives and outreaches. As a congregation and community itself, it is hospitable to persons of any faith--and none. Rabbi Kleinbaum, whose mind is as great as her heart, is unconditionally welcoming.

    I agree with any critique that can be made of institutional religion, but the grotesqueries committed by the world's religious bureaucracies do not exhaust the story of the role communities like CBST or my own congregation, the Episcopal Church of St Luke in the Fields, also in NYC, can and do play in society--particularly for young seekers who have been taught by religious leaders to hate themselves.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Jun 22, 2012 8:25:17 AM

  8. I am a very non-relgious Jew and a member of CBST. I come from a religious family, and you cannot imagine what a warm welcoming place CBST was to me in the early 90's when I was struggling with coming out. I received counseling, positive energy, and I was able to meet other nice Jewish boys there when I was way too shy and unsure of myself to ever step foot in Splash or any other gay bar. At that point, I did not have a penny of savings to donate to CBST, but they were there for me. And even though I am now all grown up with a non-Jewish partner and really am an aetheist, I still feel like I am coming home every Autumn when the Jewish holidays roll around and it is time to make my annual pilgrimage to CBST. Don't get me wrong...I am not a big fan of organized religion, but this is a warm inviting place for GLBT people for whom Jewish identity means something and this institution is all about acting and behaving in an ethical way. Rabbi Kleinbaum fully understands that many of us are not true believers, but she makes it clear that believing is not a prerequisite for being a good person and being a good person makes you a good Jew. Pop in for a CBST Yom Kippur service at the Javits Center and you will see for yourself.

    Posted by: kjpnyc | Jun 22, 2012 9:11:30 AM

  9. @kjpnyc,

    I like your post.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 22, 2012 10:03:58 AM

  10. @kjpnyc,

    I, also, like your post.

    Nineteen years ago, I turned away from all (organized) religion. Soon after, I acknowledged that I do not believe in a "personal" god. Some years later, I raised the question to myself: what sort of spirituality is appropriate to an atheist?

    Now, at the age of 69, I am actively investigating a "religious civilization" that I only touched on in my late teens: liberal Judaism. It seems that there is room there for lack of belief in a personal god. I embrace the "god" of Albert Einstein, of Carl Sagan, and of many other spiritual, thinking atheists, many of them Jews. Besides which, I love bagels with lox and cream cheese; pickled herring; chopped chicken liver - I always have, without having been Jewish. I always have loved to think. Now, I seem to be becoming (liberal) Jewish. Because I live very far from NYC, I likely never will visit Beth Simchat Torah, but I wish.

    Posted by: Jane Clare Pawling | Jun 22, 2012 2:03:33 PM

  11. I just wanted to make a correction. The total campaign is about $17million, including the purchase at $7.1million. The article states we have another $17million to go, and the comments turned that into a total of $34million. The total campaign is about $17million.

    Posted by: Gabriel | Jun 27, 2012 11:32:47 AM

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