Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum serves as spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City. She was installed as CBST’s first rabbi in 1992, arriving at the height of the AIDS crisis when the synagogue was in desperate need of pastoral care and spiritual leadership. She guided the congregation through a period of loss and change, while addressing social issues of the day and building a strong and deeply spiritual community. Under her leadership as Senior Rabbi, CBST has become a powerful voice in the movement for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions and a significant force challenging the radical right’s dominance over religious and political life in the United States and around the world. Rabbi Kleinbaum has long been involved in the fight for human rights for all people. For many years Rabbi Kleinbaum has been ranked by Newsweek among the 50 most influential rabbis in America. Rabbi Kleinbaum was appointed by President Joseph Biden to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. Rabbi Kleinbaum is also a Commissioner on New York City's Commission on Human Rights, serves on Mayor de Blasio's Faith Based Advisory Council and serves on the boards of the New York Jewish Agenda, and the New Israel Fund.
Sharon Kleinbaum’s longtime leadership of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah and her outspoken activism have made her a powerful voice for GLBTQ rights and human rights in America and around the world.
"An unusual rabbi with a unique congregation; a gifted teacher, a natural leader."
- Rabbi Alexander Schindler, z''l, Past President, The Union of American Hebrew Congregations.