Talk to Me About HIV and High Holy Days at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
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Talk to Me About HIV and High Holy Days at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

Joyful. Spiritual. Proud.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) is a vibrant spiritual community and a progressive voice within Judaism. Founded in 1973, CBST attracts and welcomes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, queer and straight individuals and families who share common values. Passionate, provocative, and deeply Jewish, CBST champions a Judaism that rejoices in diversity, denounces social injustice wherever it exists, and strives for human rights for all people.

Talk to Me About HIV is an initiative of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah funded by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene through a contract with Public Health Solutions. The initiative provides resources for rabbis, cantors, institutional leaders and congregants at synagogues, schools and community centers throughout New York City. The goal is to help people engage actively with their communities around HIV and AIDS-related issues.

Through the efforts of Chazak: the Red Ribbon Team at CBST, Talk to Me About HIV was launched in 2017 and continues into its second year. We are proud to offer this program to the leaders and members of Jewish communities from all five boroughs. The multi-faceted project comprises several elements, including:

  • A resource “toolkit” addressing central medical, practical and pastoral issues regarding HIV, including risk, infection, care and treatment, living with HIV and AIDS, aging, and much more. The toolkit will soon be available as an eBook!
  • Video testimonies and conversationswith CBST’s rabbis and community members that personalize our community’s storied history and experience with HIV and AIDS and say “Talk to me about HIV.”
  • Lunch & Learn events held at Jewish synagogues and organizations, as well as seminaries in New York City, whose graduates will soon join the ranks of professional clergy worldwide.
  • A podcast series featuring esteemed special guests, from a wide variety of fields, in conversation with Jewish clergy. These conversations will model confident, informed discussion around the most significant issues that individuals with HIV/AIDS face today.
  • Free, Confidential HIV Testing onsite at CBST and open to everyone. Testing is provided by GMHC. Our next testing date is Wednesday, August 22nd from 5pm to 7pm.
  • Supportive Social Gathering for Adults Aging with HIV/AIDS, Tuesday nights through August 21st onsite at CBST, from 7pm to 9pm. Food is provided. Sessions led by Scott A. Kramer, LCSW-R, ACSW.

You are also warmly invited to CBST’s High Holy Days 2018 / 5779 services at the Javits Center. This vibrant community will sing, pray, reflect on life and act upon our values throughout the year. We wish you a good and sweet year – l’shanah tovah u’metukah.

Our long-standing Open Door policy is sustained by support from CBST Members & Friends. We welcome ALL who wish to share Jewish time, during the High Holy Days and on Shabbat, holidays and festivals throughout the year, always without charge.

For more information about our upcoming High Holy Day services, you can check out the CBST website.

For more information about Talk to Me About HIV you can check out our website, or email us at