CBST's High Holy Day Services in the New York Times
A New York Times piece talks about CBST's High Holy Day Services! "Opening the Religious Tent to All," the piece talks about CBST's Open Door and our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
So much has happened in our lifetimes that seemed impossible not so long ago, beside our own aging. Who could have guessed 40 years ago, when a band of gay Jewish men came together in Greenwich Village to worship because they were welcome nowhere else, that today gay marriage would be legal in this state and others? Who could have guessed 20 years later, after AIDS had killed a generation of gay men, faster than they could be properly mourned, that Congregation Beit Simchat Torah would be a “real’’ synagogue, with a lesbian rabbi? Who could have guessed that before long Beit Simchat Torah would be a magnet for both gays and straights, Jews and Christians, especially on the High Holy Days — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — when most synagogues are open only to members with tickets? And that their open-door policy would draw crowds so large it meant using New York City’s historic Town Hall for the first holiday and the cavernous Jacob Javits Convention Center for the second? Attending on the first night of Rosh Hashanah, and welcomed as a “practicing heterosexual,’’ I noted that the audience had at least two things in common: A belief that religion could and should be an open tent. And enough years on this earth to know that there is a time to plant and a time to sow and that the second required both grace and courage. Among the readings was the poem “Autumn” by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Here are the first three stanzas, in slightly different translation. A complete version of the poem, in yet another translation, can be found here if you scroll to the bottom.