Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum retiring from world's largest LGBTQ synagogue after 32 years


Saying shalom to retirement

With what’s going on in our world, a word about a special lady:

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (called the gay synagogue) began 1992. Height of the AIDS crisis. No staff or leader before Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum arrived — and LGBTQ’s Jewish leaders, living in fear and trauma with 40% gone from AIDS, could then congregate freely to worship.

Rabbi Kleinbaum’s congregation is now 1,300, 25 staff, four rabbis, an internship program, prominent alumni worldwide and LGBTQ’s largest synagogue in the world.

To honor her retirement after 32 years, the Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum & Randi Weingarten Fund for Social Justice at CBST will launch a celebratory concert June 3 at Jazz at Lincoln Center.


Left write out

Anybody notice that TV interviewees — many with marginal fame posing on location — all — each — everyone — always and forever place themselves in front of or sit alongside a bookcase? Why?

Have they no couches, divans, chairs, stools, pillows, ladder tops, low tables, cushions or large dogs they can rest against instead of copies of paperbacks they’ve never ever read?

Another of my crankiness: Why’s everyone — everyone — every out-of-work actor, unemployed singer, used to be dancer, overcharging plumber — writing a book?


In reel time

Oscar, SAG, Emmy, Golden Globe winner Melissa Leo. Her 2010 film was “The Fighter.”

She now plays a detective in Tribeca’s Angelika Village East world premiere of “The Knife.” Thriller, involving an African family. The director and co-writer’s Nnamdi Asomugha.


Brain drain

One word about the brilliant, honorable, trustworthy, great legal brain Michael Cohen, who’s so smart he thinks Grape Nuts is a venereal disease.


Prez-ing issues

Lest you think our grand and glorious United States of Godblessus America has always been governed by wall-to-wall brain trusts, here’s more presidential miseries — or more miserable presidents. Take your pick:

1789. Washington, referring to himself in third person and hating handshaking, was convinced by pals Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to grab the job. Age 57, past his prime — yet anointed — he started this whole mishmash.

Thomas Jefferson. Ambitious as hell — like our newie Robert Kennedy — and sniffed at politics, calling it “a game” even though he ran like hell to beat then-President John Adams.

James Madison — long before he became a one-way Avenue — was sour, cranky, sickly, couldn’t make eye contact, and I’m sure he was great but I can’t remember what he did in 1812. I wasn’t around until weeks later.

William Henry Harrison about whom nobody seems to care. The book “Anything for a Vote” reports one newspaper wrote of his election: “We have been sung down, lied down, and drunk down.”


After a long meeting with Joe Biden, our Temp-in-Chief: “The man actually has nothing to say but you have to listen to him a long time to find that out.”

Spoken so low — possibly from Mrs. Biden — that you could scarcely detect it — and repeated so extremely softly that only I could barely somehow manage to hear it — only in New York, kids, only in New York.



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