Hillary Clinton speaks to LGBT Jewish congregation

Hillary Rodham Clinton, at what felt like a particularly unpredictable gig on her schedule, gave the keynote address at a fundraising event for Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), New York City’s LGBTQ synagogue, on Monday night.

She spoke before a crowd of 700 that had gathered at a theater of the Fashion Institute of Technology for “Bringing Vision to Life,” both to raise money for the mortgage on its new Manhattan temple and to honor Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, a notable human rights activist, for her 25 years of service.

“As she led this congregation forward, Rabbi Kleinbaum helped CBST become what it is today: a bold spiritual community of resistance and love,” said Clinton, taking the podium following a performance by the Greenwich Village Orchestra of Lincoln Portrait, by Aaron Copland, who, it was noted, was gay and Jewish, and accused of Communist affiliations during the McCarthy era. “Love is always, always needed,” she added. “It turns out resistance comes in and out of our needs, but it is high on the need list right now.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a benefit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in New York. (Photo: AP/Julie Jacobson)

The event, which raised $2.3 million for the synagogue, was co-hosted by Andy Cohen and Cynthia Nixon, the latter of whom noted, “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.” She added, in one of the most political nods of the evening, “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.”

Cohen said he first came to CBST in the early ’90s, and noted, to appreciative laughter, “Growing up Jewish and closeted in Missouri is exactly as much fun as it sounds.”

Kleinbaum and many of her congregants were…

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