First HIV Prevention Training for Jewish Clergy

Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, director of social justice programming at CBST, speaks about his experience with HIV, in a “Voices of Community” video from the synagogue. (Screen shot via video)

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) recently completed the first training ever organized to help Jewish clergy, synagogue staff members and other community leaders raise awareness of HIV among their congregations. “Talk to Me About HIV” included six trainings that ran over the past two months and focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and confronting stigmas associated with the virus.

In a Tablet story on the program, Rachel Delia Benaim speaks to Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, the director of social justice programming at CBST. She writes:

The history of HIV/AIDS has hugely impacted CBST, as the synagogue’s previous location in the West Village—it has since moved to 30th Street—and LGBT congregation put it at the epicenter of the epidemic. “We lost 25 percent of the male congregants during the AIDS crisis,” Bauer said. Currently, the community knows of 90 congregants who are HIV positive, but more are likely to be living with the disease without admitting it publicly.

Benaim notes that CBST received a grant from the City Council, NYC Health Department and Public Health Solutions for HIV/AIDS Faith Based Initiative to run the program, adding that according to Rabbi Bauer, “CBST is the only Jewish group to have applied.”

How did the program come about? And why did organizers target Jewish leaders for the program? Find out at Tablet.

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