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Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum stands up for gay marriage in the face of Jewish prejudice

Yesterday a scuffle broke out between a group of Rockland Hassidic men and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. The incident occurred during a protest outside the New York state senate where a gay marriage bill is currently under debate.

Reported by the Times Union (hat tip to Jezebel.com) the scuffle was caught on tape. According to the Times Union, in the video gay marriage supporter Rabbi Kleinbaum tries to move in front of Ruben Diaz Sr., an anti-gay senator, and threw an arm over one of the Hassidic protesters. He spit on her and shouted, "You're not a Jew! You're not a Jew!"

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum is featured in JWA's exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution. She has a long history of social justice activism and leadership. From the Congregation Beit Simchat Torah website:

Rabbi Kleinbaum's own social action career began in her first year at Barnard College, leading protests against the school's investments in South Africa and against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That spirit has continued nonstop ever since. As a human rights advocate—for blacks, women, gays and lesbians, immigrants, Palestinians—she has been jailed, arrested, vilified, and lauded, all with equal aplomb.

In Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution, Rabbi Kleinbaum wrote:

I believe in cosmic influences: I believe that we influence the cosmos, that we influence the world. I believe that what we do matters. Our lives, our actions, our words, even our thoughts can make a difference. Together we can change the world.

I want to offer my support to Rabbi Kleinbaum, a undeniable Jewess with attitude, for standing up in the face of prejudice, even when it comes from other Jews. Together, we can change the world.

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These hassidisher men spoke ill of Rabbi Kleinbaum. This is the sin of Lashon Hara, speaking ill of others!

How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum stands up for gay marriage in the face of Jewish prejudice." 22 June 2011. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 9, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/rabbi-sharon-kleinbaum>.

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