The Month of Elul 5780

In year 5780 / 2020, the Month of Elul begins at sundown on Thursday, August 20 and concludes at sundown on Friday, September 18. 

Skip down to Elul Classes & Programs: Click Here

Listen to Psalm 27 sung by the CBST Community Chorus at past High Holy Days: Psalm 27

Register for access to CBST’s 5781 High Holy Days observance, always open to all, always free of charge: High Holy Days

Read an Elul message from the CBST Clergy & Staff below: Click Here

"Elul (blue tones)" by Karin Foreman,

August 20, 2020 / 30 Av 5780

אַחַ֤ת שָׁאַ֣לְתִּי מֵֽאֵת־יְהוָה֮ אוֹתָ֪הּ אֲבַ֫קֵּ֥שׁ שִׁבְתִּ֣י בְּבֵית־יְ֭הוָה כָּל־יְמֵ֣י חַיַּ֑י לַחֲז֥וֹת בְּנֹֽעַם־יְ֝הוָ֗ה וּלְבַקֵּ֥ר בְּהֵיכָלֽוֹ׃
One thing I ask, only this do I seek: to dwell in your house all the days of my life,
to behold your loveliness, in the light of the temple dawn.
-from Psalm 27, the Psalm for Elul, translation from CBST Siddur B'chol Levavcha

Tonight, as we make our way into the 5781 season of awe, our desires could be as simple as this single line of the Psalms relates: we want to be in the presence of holiness, we long to experience loveliness and light.

The Hebrew month of Elul has always held an essential place in the Jewish calendar, and this year of all years it seems even more necessary. Elul is a month of preparation, of spiritual discernment and direction.

At CBST, we prepare for the upcoming Days of Awe, the High Holy Days of 5781, with unique opportunities for study, connection, and prayer. Prepare yourself for this season, individually and as part of a community. Fill your home with the smell of fresh baked challah, introduce yourself to our new Machzor with the guidance of our Clergy and Music Team, deepen your understanding of what "repentance" means in Jewish thought, set up your home space to be a house of prayer for S'lichot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur.

Through classes, workshops, services, and social justice work, you are invited on this journey towards a year of goodness and sweetness that is in our hands to create. Elul brims with possibility; a new year is dawning.


Rabbi Kleinbaum signature

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Yael Rapport
Associate Rabbi

Joyce Rosenzweig
Music Director

And the CBST Clergy & Staff


Elul Classes & Programs


Psalm Study with Rabbi Kleinbaum
Mondays through Thursdays, 9:45 - 10:45 am
Join CBST's Senior Rabbi, Sharon Kleinbaum, for an in-depth study of the Book of Psalms. Starting on Monday, August 24th, we will take an in-depth look at Psalm 27, the Psalm for the Season of Repentance, which is recited daily from the beginning of the month of Elul through Hoshanah Rabbah. We will read the Psalm in Hebrew and various English translations, and then class participants are invited to share their own interpretations through writing, song and the visual arts. Once we have studied Psalm 27, we will return to the psalm-by-psalm study begun in March, at Psalm 11. No previous knowledge of psalms is necessary; some familiarity with Hebrew is useful but not necessary. If you are intending to attend this class regularly, please email to be placed on the class email list, and join the class Facebook page. No registration is required, but a contribution at your discretion to Adult Education at CBST is appreciated. Click here to make a contribution towards Psalms Study. 
To participate via ZOOM click this link on your computer:
OR join by phone (audio only), call
 +1 646 876 9923 US (New York);
when prompted, enter Meeting ID  513 468 144


DAILY: Rambam (Maimonides)'s Hilchot Teshuva - The Laws of Repentance with Rabbi Moskowitz 
Sundays through Fridays, 8:30 to 8:45 am, from Fri, Aug 21 through Fri, Sept 18 - The Month of Elul 
Elul is the time for us to appreciate all of God's beautiful creations and recognize that God, the Creator, is even more beautiful. Elul is an opportunity to reflect, push ourselves, and reinvest. As we prepare for the High Holy Days, CBST's Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Mike Moskowitz leads a daily 15-minute Meditation to be streaming live from the CBST Facebook Page. A recording will be immediately available in the CBST Facebook Videos section archive. Photo: Harold Levine


CBST Members' Town Hall: 
How CBST Will Observe the Yamim Noraim / High Holy Days This Year.

Monday, Aug 24, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Watch previous Town Hall meetings here. For High Holy Days, you can purchase the Machzor: Lev Shalem: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur directly from the publisher.  Photo: Ira Rosenblum


Round Challah Baking & Chopped Liver Class
Thursday, Aug 27, 6:00 pm
Watch the video recording here and view the recipes here. CBST Member and Jeffrey A. Miller Catering chef-owner Jeffrey Miller leads a round challah baking class and chopped liver cooking lesson! Jeffrey will be using his mother’s chopped liver recipe! Annette Miller, z”l, was a beloved and long-time member of CBST. Rabbi Yael Rapport will offer teaching on Jewish food culture and the role of these traditional foods. Read this Welcome Letter from Jeff for an introduction and details on getting prepared. For a list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions click here to view the Round Challah Recipe and the Chopped Liver Recipe (both Chicken & Vegetarian options included!). For more information on Jewish food culture: Visit Tablet Magazine's 100 Most Jewish Foods for an interactive overview with a collection of articles, and read Challah in the Round by Ruth Heiges at RitualWell for information on the tradition of eating Round Challah. Photo Credit


Meet the Machzor:  CBST's High Holy Day Prayer Book
Monday, Aug 31, 6:00-7:00pm, with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum - watch 
Monday, Sept 7 (Labor Day), 6:00-7:00pm, with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum - watch
Monday, Sept 14, 6:00-7:00pm, with Music Director Joyce Rosenzweig and Cantorial Intern Sam Rosen - watch

On Aug 31 and Sept 7, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum will teach about the Machzor we will use during the High Holy Day services this year. And on Sept 14, Music Director Joyce Rosenzweig and Cantorial Intern Sam Rosen will present "Music of the High Holy Days." You can purchase the Machzor: Lev Shalem: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur directly from the publisher. The regular version is temporarily out of stock, but you can still get a large print edition:, or a digital copy: 


"Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary" - Watch here
Thursday, September 3rd, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Aligning our homes and our hearts for the High Holy Days. This Elul season, how do we imbue our spaces with a sense of the sacred? What kinds of rituals and creative expressions can we utilize to make the place where we dwell into the space where we pray? Rabbi Rapport leads this workshop investigating Jewish traditions of creativity in holy places, including visual meditation, artistic expression, and sensory add-ons to Jewish ritual. Photo credit: The Tasman Center for Jewish Creativity


S'lichot Class and Service
Saturday, Sept 12, 9:00 pm class / 10:00 pm  service - watch here
Our evening opens with an in-depth study, led by Rabbi Rapport, on the meaning of S'lichot itself and the role these communal prayers of forgiveness have played in Jewish tradition across the world. The late night, candle-lit service that is led by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Music Director Joyce Rosenzweig, Cantorial Intern Sam Rosen, and Larry Kay envelopes both the personal and the communal; the work is spiritual, emotional, and intellectual. The music of the High Holy Days prepares us to open our own gates of teshuvah/repentance. All are welcome. 
Photo by Patrice Ruel taken last year on S'lichot at our 30th Street Sanctuary. This year, we will observe online.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 811 1128 8823
Call-in: +1 646 876 9923 (New York)

Zoom Instructions & Etiquette


HIGH HOLY DAYS 5781 / 2020

The High Holy Days frame a uniquely intimate, yet communal experience of holiness in our lives. This year, given the realities of the COVID-19 world, it will not be safe to hold services in person. We will share the Days of Awe as an international CBST community online, creating beautiful and meaningful spiritual experiences. 

CLICK HERE for full information

Read the High Holy Days MESSAGE from
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum,
Board President Gregg Passin, and
Executive Director Yolanda Potasinski

Photo: Harold Levine

NER TAMID (Eternal Light):  CBST preserves our cherished traditions as well as our innovations - the bold pursuit of social justice, inspiring religious observance, pastoral care, educational programs, and social activities that serve our diverse community. Legacy gifts—bequests, trusts, annuities, retirement and insurance benefactor plans, gifts of real estate, and the like—significantly enhance our ability to implement all that we stand for and strive for. You can leave a lasting legacy and create a meaningful tribute. Also consider a Charitable Gift Annuity offered in collaboration with UJA-Federation of NY (offering tax benefits now, and lifetime income). EMAIL to advise us that you have remembered CBST in your estate plans and approve acknowledgement as a Ner Tamid in the Yom Kippur publication.  Learn more...

Watch videos and read drashot from past High Holy Day services.

Listen to a sample from our High Holy Days CD, "Return Again, Hashivenu"
Achat Sha'alti, Israel Katz, born 1930, sung by the CBST Community Chorus


ONGOING at CBST through Elul and beyond....

Connecting in Community
Fridays, 3:00-4:00pm via Zoom 
with Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Fellow Deborah Megdal
In these challenging times, we show up for each other with an open heart and loving presence. Join Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Fellow Deborah Megdal for a short text study and discussion in small groups, as we transition into Shabbat. Newcomers and “drop-ins” always welcome! No registration required. Fridays, 3pm-4pm. 
Registration is not required. Zoom:
Meeting ID: 256 347 787 Call-in: +1 646 876 9923 (New York)
Mute your device. Need tech help? Text 646-450-3556

Kabbalat Shabbat Services
Fridays, 6:30 pm
Livestreamed throughout the year via the CBST Facebook Page. 

Shabbat Morning Services
Saturdays, 9:30 am
Via Zoom throughout the year (check the CBST calendar for details, including time), and also livestreamed via the CBST Facebook Page. 

Saturdays, 9:00 pm service followed by program at 9:30 pm
Meeting ID: 654 880 356  Call-in: +1 646 876 9923 (New York) 

Stargaze Candle

Mishpachah Monday! Virtual Dinner
Mondays, 5:00 pm
Join a weekly bring-your-own dinner or snack every Monday evening at 5:00pm with Rabbi Marisa James. Mishpachah is a CBST social and cultural group, diverse in its membership and informal in nature, attracting those over the age of 55 while welcoming all for a truly inter-generational experience. The group's goals are building friendship, fun, networking and mutual support. All are welcome!
On Computer:
On Phone: +1 646 876 9923 (New York)   Meeting ID: 513 521 023

Living Successfully with HIV/AIDS
Tuesdays, 6:00 pm Register to receive Zoom info. 
This supportive social gathering–shmooze with Rabbi Marisa James is an opportunity to share stories and compare notes about what it means to be living successfully with HIV/AIDS. Sessions led by Scott A. Kramer, LCSW-R, ACSW, for adults of any age. Questions? Email Jesse at

This project was funded by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene through a contract with Public Health Solutions.

Sanctuary at CBST: Pro Se Immigration Legal Clinic
In partnership with Seeking Asylum and Finding Empowerment (SAFE) and New Sanctuary Coalition (NSC), CBST offers you the opportunity to volunteer and make a significant difference for immigrants and asylym seekers facing an increasingly complex process (now working entirely online). Contact Rabbi Marisa James, CBST Director of Social Justice Programming or Noah Habeeb, Clinic Coordinator. If you're a lawyer, contact Lee Jason Goldberg.  

Resistance: Calls & Cards meets Democracy Action Team 
Thursdays, 12:30 - 1:15 pm 
This weekly advocacy program provides you with info to contact elected officials and other key figures, to ensure vital political and social justice work as Americans and progressive Jews. Address issues via email, text, phone, and snail mail letter and post cards to impact voter protection/access/registration/turnout; refugee protections; environmental protection; common sense gun laws; ending mass incarceration; education reform; healthcare; and the fight against rising antisemitism, racism, and bigotry in all forms.  Zoom via computer:  Meeting ID: 874 4181 8544   Call-in: +1 646 876 9923 (New York)

Programming for Families with Children
Alef-Bet Shabbat - interactive Shabbat morning services for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers
Aggadah Adventures - innovative immersive theater for the very young educational experiences
(significantly funded by the Covenant Foundation)
Limmud b'Shabbat Grades K thru 12/Teen Track - registration is now open

Zoom Instructions & Etiquette