World’s Largest LGBT Synagogue Buys First Property
Tom Acitelli July 11, 2011, 3:35 p.m.
Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the self-proclaimed largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender synagogue in the world, has purchased 15,000-square-feet of commercial condominium space in the fashion district.
The $7.1 million deal at 130 West 30th Street marks the first time the high-profile, 38-year-old congregation has owned property and will allow the synagogue to hold its regular services in its own sanctuary, with additional space to accommodate its social justice work and other events.
The move in 2013 is timed to coincide with the congregation’s 40th anniversary. In the new space, the synagogue will house offices, classrooms, a social hall and conference rooms, as well as a large sanctuary that will accommodate weddings and other celebrations in two commercial condominiums that will be renovated into one large space on the ground, mezzanine and lower floors of the 20-story building, a spokesman said.
Until now, the congregation’s rented facility in the West Village has been unable to accommodate a regular Friday night Shabbat service, said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.
Gregg Winter and Doug Chitel of Winter & Company represented the Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in the deal while Frank Arends and Patty Larocco of Prudential Douglas Elliman represented owners of one of the two condominiums. Lily Hu and Diana Han of the Corcoran Group represented the owner of the second commercial condominium.
“Our congregation began in 1973, with about a dozen men meeting in the annex of a church carrying the supplies for their Friday night service in a shopping bag,” Rabbi Kleinbaum said. “Today, we are nearly 1,000 strong and growing. We have always dreamed of creating a more inclusive Judaism, and we have helped achieve that in innumerable ways.
“The one thing we have never had is a home or our own, and today, that dream, too, is becoming real.”