Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, D.D., Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (she/her) serves as of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) in New York City. Assuming her position as CBST’s inaugural rabbi in 1992, Rabbi Kleinbaum arrived during the throes of the AIDS crisis, a time when the congregation urgently required both pastoral support and spiritual guidance. With resolute determination, she steered the community through a period of upheaval and transformation, simultaneously addressing prevailing societal challenges and cultivating a resilient, profoundly spiritual fellowship.

In her capacity as Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Kleinbaum has propelled CBST to the forefront of the campaign for parity and justice, championing the rights and dignity of individuals encompassing diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. Her leadership stands as a formidable counterforce to the ascendancy of the radical right within the spheres of religion and politics, not only in the United States but also on the globally.

Rabbi Kleinbaum has long been a dedicated advocate in the struggle for universal human rights. Throughout her career, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum has been recognized for her transformative work in promoting understanding, acceptance, and collaboration among diverse communities. Her leadership has left an indelible mark on the intersection of LGBTQ+ advocacy and Jewish spirituality, making her a respected and admired figure both within her congregation and in broader society.

Over numerous years, her impactful contributions have earned her recognition among Newsweek’s elite list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. Notably, she was chosen by President Biden to serve as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Further underscoring her commitment to justice, Rabbi Kleinbaum holds a Commissioner role on New York City’s Commission on Human Rights and lends her expertise to Mayor Eric Adam’s Faith-Based Advisory Council. Rabbi Kleinbaum is also a member of the Executive Committee of Governor Hochul’s Office of Faith and Non-Profit Development Services. 

  • The Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Randi Weingarten
    Fund for Social Justice

  • “Social Justice is rooted in our Jewish texts, history, theology and liturgy. We don’t separate spirituality from social justice.” - Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
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