Hillary Hails Synagogue For LGBT Community As ‘Bold Spiritual Community Of Resistance’
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at a fundraising event for a synagogue that champions LGBT lifestyles Monday evening, urging congregants to continue their “resistance.”
Clinton gave the keynote address at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah’s “Bringing Vision to Life,” to honor Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and raise money for its new temple, according to Yahoo Lifestyle. Clinton praised the New York City synagogue’s congregation as “a bold spiritual community of resistance and love,” adding that resistance “is high on the need list right now.”
Many of the synagogue congregants supported Clinton during her 2016 campaign for president, with Kleinbaum’s partner and president of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten giving Clinton an official endorsement.
The synagogue was also the congregation of Edie Windsor, the lead plaintiff in the civil rights case Obergefell v. Hodges, at whose funeral Clinton spoke and Kleinbaum officiated.
Clinton praised the congregation for the support and encouragement they showed her following her defeat in the 2016 election.
“I especially loved the letters I got from some of your youngest congregants,” Clinton told crowd, according to Yahoo. “For example, 8-year-old Felix, and his moms, sent along a photo of his incredible Halloween costume. He looked just like me. He even nailed my hair, which you know is not easy.”
Clinton then proceeded to call for the continued support of AIDS research and for those who have contracted AIDS. Clinton used the AIDS crisis to take a jab at the GOP tax plan, saying that it was important to remember AIDS activists’ “resilience and determination in the face of denial and indifference” now since, according to her, the “system to care for people is at risk, as funding is cut and as priorities change.”
She called on congregants to uphold the Jewish concept of tikkun olam or “repair of the world.”
Clinton explained that in the shadow of her 2016 defeat, she “watched a lot of HGTV,” walked her dogs in the woods, drank wine, read mystery novels, and did yoga.
“I also prayed. I prayed a lot, as fervently as I can remember,” Clinton added.
American actress Cynthia Nixon and talk show and radio host Andy Cohen co-hosted the Monday evening event for the synagogue (CBST). Nixon praised the congregation for championing LGBT lifestyles and for approaching Judaism with such an incredibly relaxed interpretation that they include congregants who don’t follow Judaism at all.
“I was not raised Jewish. I am not Jewish at all, in fact. But CBST is still a home for me. I come here on my own terms,” Nixon said. “This congregation gathers not because we have to, or because we fear the wrath of hell — though this last year has been plenty of a preview, thank you very much.”
CBST, founded in 1973, markets itself as an LGBT synagogue, and says on its website that it “attracts and welcomes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, queer and straight individuals and families who share common values.”
“We are a house of conscience, fighting for the full equality of LGBTQ people locally, nationally and internationally,” the website adds.
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