Conversation with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Rabbi and congregation supported WorldPride in Jerusalem, protested ultra-Orthodox demonstration in NY against Pride event in Israel

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York, interviewed by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, co-director, November 28, 2006

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, who leads the world's largest GLBT congregation, Beth Simchat Torah, served as world co-chair of Jerusalem WorldPride -- a series of conferences and cultural events held in Jerusalem last August. In November, threats of violence and riots by ultra-orthodox "fundamentalists" forced a rescheduled parade (postponed because of the war with Lebanon) into a stadium.

In the recorded conversation, Kleinbaum recounts what happened in Manhattan on November 9th, when tens of thousands of Satmar hasidim were bused in to demonstrate outside Israel's consulate. They called for the death penalty for LGBT people and spat at the small group that Congregation Beth Simchat Torah hastily mobilized. Kleinbaum, who was recently named by the Forward Jewish weekly newspaper as one of the nation's 50 most important Jews, said she was arrested for simply standing on the sidewalk.

Kleinbaum also notes that opposition to GLBT rights is unifying "all the fundamentalists -- Christians and Muslims and Jews."

JewsOnFirst conversation with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum