Shabbat Ki Tisa

Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum has been drawing strength and wisdom from how Moses and the Israelites faced dramatic changes, and spoke about how profound these next few months will be for the CBST community and for her personally.

“I set up all of my drashot for the High Holidays, to prepare for the year, to create a spiritual framework that we would go through this year together, this year of celebrating this 32-year relationship that we have, and figuring out how we were going to transform ourselves into the next chapter. […]

“And then of course on October 7, at three o’clock in the morning New York time, the world began to change for all of us. And whatever plans I had had to be put aside, as we started dealing with the trauma of the horrific atrocities by Hamas on October 7.

“Then three weeks later, Israel went into Gaza, and we’ve been struggling and dealing with trying to maintain our sanity and trying to figure out how we’re going to balance our deep commitment to the human rights of Palestinians, of Israeli Jews, and also deal with this horrific atrocity that was an attack on all of us. […]

“But at the same time that the world is shaking at its roots, and in its branches, we at CBST have to still go through this process by which I will no longer be CBST’s senior rabbi, and there will be a new one. Oh my god, that is a huge transformation. […]

“And the corner we’re turning now is moving into these final months together, to figure out how to do it in a way that’s deeply respectful and loving to each other, and honors this amazing, amazing relationship we’ve had. […]

“There’s a lot of deep truth in the story of Moses and the people, as I keep saying, l’havdil elef havdales, for all different reasons. But it’s a story of a relationship of a leader in a community, sometimes in conflict, sometimes moving together. But overall, the relationship is so generative, that the leader and the community are entirely transformed by the relationship.

“The community is not the same one when they leave Egypt, and Moses is not the same leader when he leaves Egypt. And that, for sure, has been true for me. […]

“So one of the key things that I’m doing now, and I want everybody to be aware of this is, and it’s related to this parsha, is I’m working really hard with Rabbi Werber and Cantor Rosen in particular, to strengthen them, to teach them, […] So that everything that’s in my head, […] I am passing over to the two of them. It’s very intensive. It’s very active. And the two of them are two of the most extraordinary human beings in the universe. […]

Rabbi Kleinbaum returned to her teaching from Yom Kippur about the times that are bein hashmashot – the twilight, the in-between times, the times of transition that are full of both uncertainty and great possibility.

“We’re in this huge moment of transition. The only way to get from here to there is to walk together, to hold hands, and have the vision of the possibility of a future that awaits.”

  • The Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Randi Weingarten
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