Celebrating CBST's Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Internship Program

“One of Rabbi Kleinbaum’s brilliant ideas was creating the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Rabbinical Internship at CBST, with the support and partnership of Bill Fern,” said Rabbi Ayelet Cohen (a former CRRI herself) at the June 3 celebration of Rabbi Kleinbaum’s 32 years of leadership at CBST.

Here, enjoy the messages from former CRRIs and Rabbis Ayelet Cohen, Ayalon Eliach, Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein, Roderick Young, Sara Paasche-Orlow, Georgette Kennebrae, Elana Friedman, Guy Austrian, and Rachel Weiss. These star Rabbis have much to say to and about Rabbi Kleinbaum, and we’re so glad that their voices are a part of our celebration of Rabbi Kleinbaum.

Rabbi Cohen continued: “Rabbi Kleinbaum and longtime members of CBST wanted to pass down formative stories of what made CBST what it is. As interns, we were not only taught the craft of how to become a rabbi, we were tasked with becoming carriers of Jewish history and of CBST… Rabbi Kleinbaum taught us how to be rabbis. In her, we had a mentor who wanted us to succeed. She wanted us to bring our whole selves and ask all of our questions. She was deeply invested in our development as rabbis and as human beings.

“There are now 50 alumni of the internship program. Graduates of five rabbinical schools across the spectrum of gender identity, sexual orientation, and Jewish denomination and affiliation. Fifty of us who carry Irving Cooperberg’s name, and carry Rabbi Kleinbaum’s teachings.

“We serve all over the world. We, along with the seven cantors who served as interns at CBST, serve in synagogues, Hillels, eldercare, hospital, and prison chaplaincy. We’ve authored books, we’ve composed music. We’ve helped advocate for LGBTQ civil rights legislation. And we serve in the leadership of three of the major non-Orthodox rabbinical schools.

“You did that,” Rabbi Cohen said, addressing Rabbi Kleinbaum.

Rabbi Cohen concluded:

“Sharon, you built this. You built our community, our amazing network of colleagues and friends, who turn to each other and to you for guidance and support all the time, many years even decades later, with love and depth, and so much laughter. And now we’ll hear from some of our alumni,” Rabbi Cohen said, introducing the video above.

For a limited time, you can watch the full video of the June 3 celebration here.

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