Yom Kippur 5784

We are still overflowing with gratitude to everyone who made the High Holy Days this year so meaningful, beautiful, and full of music, deep prayer, joy, learning and connection. All praise to the One who has breathed our souls into being. We are so blessed.

If you missed any of the services, the full service recordings are available here. Revisit a drashah you loved or find one you missed. Come back to liturgy that moved you or that is totally new to you. We’ve compiled a few highlights below.

Please consider supporting CBST as generously as you can by donating to the Open Door Appeal, which allows CBST to welcome all to High Holy Day services without requiring payment; the Annual Appeal, which keeps our doors open all year round; or, to our Yizkor Appeal, which honors those who have gone before us. Thank you!

Kol Nidre Remarks from the Board President

Board President Sabrina Farber on the impact of 50 years of CBST and 32 years of Rabbi Kleinbaum’s leadership.

“Rabbi Kleinbaum instilled hope and purpose in our congregation—that CBST can drive change for LGBTQ+ people, both in the Jewish world and beyond. … She came to a small struggling [shul] and leaves us with a bold progressive Jewish institution built on love and resistance. We will carry on and expand her vision.

“Please support CBST as generously as you can by donating to the Open Door Appeal, which allows us to welcome all to High Holy Day services without requiring payment, or to the Annual Appeal, which keeps our doors open all year round.”

Rabbi Kleinbaum's Kol Nidre Drashah

Rabbi Kleinbaum on the shift coming as she prepares to step down next summer, and the possibility for growth in liminal times.

“Today, I want to focus on something that I’m thinking a lot about in this year, which is the beyn hashmashot period. We’re told that God created, for six days of creation, and then God rested on the seventh day. And the question is: what happened in the twilight time between the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest?”

Beyn hashmashot is that liminal time of twilight. No longer day, but not yet nighttime. God created unique things in this time.

“Look at the giving of the Torah. It happened in the most profound place that our tradition discusses, which is the liminal place of the desert.

“I believe it is in this space that deep and great generativity will happen. It is the right time for me to create space for another generation of leaders to come into CBST, and to bring CBST into the next 50 years.”

"Seder Ha-Avodah"

The most dramatic (and possibly least understood) part of Yom Kippur Musaf is the Avodah service, a vivid description of the Kohen Gadol’s (High Priest’s) emotional journey as he prepares to perform his most solemn duty of the year, asking God for atonement for himself and the Jewish people. 
This year, Cantor Sam Rosen, Music Director Joyce Rosenzweig, Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, and percussionist Barbara Freedman brought these words to life in a brand new way using the popular Israeli singer Yishai Ribo’s compelling song based on the traditional text, with Rabbi Ayelet Cohen’s evocative English translation to guide us through this dramatic piece of liturgical theater.

Yizkor Reflections: Memories of The AIDS Crisis and Irving Cooperberg

During Yizkor, the memorial service, Rabbi Kleinbaum paid tribute to Irving Cooperberg, z”l, a foundational member of CBST and the broader LGBTQ+ community, whose legacy is evident in so much of what our community is today.

“AIDS matured us as a community, which was a very young community, and very focused on enjoying life. And we as a community learned how to take care of each other when the world outside was not only neglecting us, but downright denying us.

“Forty percent of our community died from AIDS. I look around the room, I see so many empty chairs of people I knew, loved, and buried. And I look around the room and I see so many people whose loved ones, whose partners of life, died way, way, way too young. And I see people who rebuilt their lives in extraordinary ways.

“Irving Cooperberg and his partner, Lou Rittmaster, met me when I started at CBST on August 3, 1992. They walked me to the bimah, and they stood on either side of me. And [Irving] said to me, ‘Rabbi, this is going to be a really hard job. This is going to be a job which, many days, you’re going to feel complete despair and frustration. And you are going to want to hang it up,’ he said. ‘But I want you to look at those empty chairs in the sanctuary before us. And remember who we’re doing this for.’

“Irving loved to collect people, and I was lucky to be one of those people. Irving said to me over and over again: ‘Don’t let the bad days get you down. There will be a lot of them. Make sure you celebrate and count the good days.’

“I believe that Irving continues to bless me every day. I could not have been at CBST for all these years, and I would not have survived the first year for sure. I don’t think I would be here today without those blessings. So we remember all those people whose blessings have given us strength. We remember today those people who died from AIDS.”

"Some Days"

Renowned singer and beloved friend of CBST Sally Wilfert and CBST Music Director Joyce Rosenzweig perform Steve Marzullo’s “Some Days,” a poignant and introspective song featuring lyrics by the acclaimed writer James Baldwin, known for his profound explorations of race, identity, and society.

Set to music by the talented composer and pianist Steve Marzullo, this song speaks of life’s vicissitudes and of the extremes of human experiences and emotions. Baldwin’s words evoke a range of feelings, from worry and sadness to moments of joy, reflection, and thanksgiving. As we embark on this new year of 5784, we pray that this song will act as a catalyst to reflect on our own life experiences, and begin to visualize the year ahead.

Yom Kippur Photos

Click here to see photos from Laurie Rhodes of CBST’s first Yom Kippur back at the Javits Center since 2019.

Rosh Hashanah 5784

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