Please enter your username and password below.
Denise L. Eger was raised in Memphis, TN.
She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California with a
Bachelor's Degree in Religion in 1982. She received her Master's Degree
from Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in 1985 and was
ordained as Rabbi in 1988 at the New York campus of HUC.
Rabbi Eger has served pulpits in Canada, New York and Los Angeles.
Following ordination, she served Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim for four
years as its first full-time rabbi. She is the founding rabbi of Congregation
Kol Ami, West Hollywood's Reform Synagogue.
Rabbi Eger believes that activism is an important part of her
rabbinate. She has worked extensively with people with AIDS. She
served as co-chair of the Community Advisory Board of the Shanti Foundation and
is a past Chair of the Spiritual Advisory Committee of AIDS Project Los Angeles.
She is past Co-Chair of the Institutional Review Board for Search Alliance, an
AIDS drug research organization.
In 2013 Rabbi Eger became President
Elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis which is the largest
organization of Rabbis; More than 2000 Reform rabbis world-wide. In March of
2015 she will become President of the CCAR becoming the first openly gay or
lesbian rabbi to that position. Rabbi Eger is a past President of the Southern
California Board of Rabbis (the first
woman and openly gay person to do so) and a past President of the Pacific
Association of Reform Rabbis.
She co-chaired the Gay and Lesbian
Rabbinic Network for two years. She is a past Treasurer of the Women's Rabbinic
Network. She was the founding President
of the Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Interfaith Clergy Association. She served on the Board of the No On Knight
Campaign/No on Proposition 22. and sat on the Board of the Equality for All/No
on Prop 8. She is active on the steering committee of the California Faith for
Equality and helped to organize Jews for Marriage Equality. She is a member of
the Religion and Faith Council of the Human Rights Campaign.
Rabbi Eger helped to organize the Southern California Gay and Lesbian Jewish
Professionals Group, which brings together gay and lesbian Rabbis, Cantor,
Jewish communal workers and educators in the L.A. area. She is a board
member of the Institute for Sexual Orientation and Judaism of Hebrew Union
College and an Overseer of the Los Angeles Campus of Hebrew Union College.
Rabbi Eger is the past chair of
the Task Force on Gays and Lesbians in the Rabbinate of the Central Conference
of American Rabbis and also serves on Human Sexuality Committee of the CCAR and
represents the CCAR on the Joint Commission on Synagogue Management with the URJ.
Rabbi Eger was instrumental in helping pass the March 2000 CCAR resolution
in support of officiation and gay and lesbian commitment ceremonies. She is
co-author of the official Reform movement gay and lesbian wedding liturgy.
Rabbi Eger has written many
articles that have appeared in magazines and newspapers such as Compass, Reform
Judaism, The Advocate, The Jewish Journal, the Huffington Post, The Jewish
Forward, KCET Blog and the Los Angeles Times including contributions to the
books, Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian, Gay and Jewish (Boston: Beacon
Press, 1988) and an article on Judaism and Homosexuality in the new edition of Positively
Gay, edited by Betty Berzon (Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 2001). Rabbi Eger's work is also featured in a
collection published by the Union of American Hebrew Congregation, Jewish
Question Our Children Ask, edited by Olitzky, Roseman, and Kasakove. Rabbi Eger was featured in a book by Suzanne
Sherman, (Temple University Press) Gay and Lesbian Marriages. She has been featured in the book UNCOMMON
HEROES, as one of 150 prominent gay and lesbian role models in the United States. She also authored a chapter in the book
entitled Conflicting Vision – Contemporary Debates in Reform Judaism
by Routledge Press. Rabbi Eger has contributions to Breaking the Glass: A Spiritual
Guide to Your Jewish Wedding (Weiner, CCAR PRESS, 2001). Rabbi Eger wrote a
chapter in the book, Lesbian Rabbis: THE FIRST GENERATION by Elwell,
Alpert, and Idelson (published by Routledge Press, August 2001). And she was
featured in the photographic collection, Rabbis: The Many Faces of Judaism
by George Kalinsky. (Rizolli Press, 2002).
has contributed articles to the Women’s Haftarah Commentary and new Women’s
Torah Commentary published by the Women of Reform Judaism. Her work in her
congregation on issues of Judaism and addiction recovery was recently
highlighted in an article in the Jerusalem Post (December, 05). Rabbi
Eger was recently featured in articles by the Jewish Forward and the Los
Angeles Times on her leadership roles. Rabbi Eger’s latest work, a commentary
on Parshat Vayigash, appears in Torah Queeries: Reading
the Bible through a Bent Lens published by New York University Press. Rabbi
Eger has a Torah commentary fin the book Text Messages published by
Jewish Lights Press. Most recently Rabbi Eger has two articles in the anthology
entitled, The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality,(CCAR
Rabbi Eger has won numerous
awards for her dedication and activism.
She was recognized for her Social Justice work in 1992 by Metropolitan Community Church
with the Pat Underwood Community Service Award. In 1996 she was given then Rainbow Key
by the City of West Hollywood
and the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Council. In 1998 she was
awarded the LACE Spirituality award by the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
In 1999, Rabbi Eger was named Business
Woman of the Year by the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the
City of West Hollywood’s
Women’s Advisory Council. Rabbi Eger was honored in 1999 by the Freedom to
Marry Coalition for her work to support Gay and Lesbian Marriage Rights and
Rites. In February 2000 Rabbi Eger was named as an Angel Amidst by the
City of West Hollywood
for improving the quality of life in the city. In October 2000 was awarded the Partnerin
Faith award by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
for her outstanding work on the Reform Movement’s position on officiation at
Gay and Lesbian Ceremonies. She was given the Shomer Tzedek award by Kol
Ami on the occasion of the congregation’s tenth anniversary. Rabbi Eger received Spirit
of Hope Award for her AIDS activism from Being Alive in 2004. She was
featured in Los Angeles
Weekly as one of the Persons of 2006.
Rabbi Eger received the Morris Kight Lifetime Achievement Award from Christopher
Angeles Gay Pride in June 2008. In October of 2009 Rabbi Eger was named by
National Women’s Political Caucus’ 12
Remarkable Women for 2010. In 2011 Rabbi Eger received the Human Rights
Campaign Equality Award at its Los
In October 2011 Rabbi Eger was
named a GLBT Icon for her long
history of activism and service for Gay and Lesbian History Month by the
In June 2008 Eger
had the honor of officiating at the first legal wedding for a lesbian couple in
In November 2008 Rabbi Eger was named one of the FORWARD FIFTY by the national Jewish
newspaper the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the 50 most influential Jewish
leaders of the year along with Rahm Emmanuel, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sarah
Silverman. And in 2010 Rabbi Eger was named to the Sisterhood Fifty, one of
the 50 most important women Rabbis.
She is a noted speaker on the
topics of human sexuality, GLBT issues and Judaism, AIDS, the changing Jewish
Family, Spirituality and Health issues in Judaism and Politics, Progressive
Judaism and the Radical Right. Rabbi
Eger has appeared on numerous radio and television programs. Rabbi Eger blogs
at the Huffington Post and daily at Walking Humbly Seeking Justice
Living with Hope.
Rabbi Eger has a son in college.
Rabbi Eger prominently featured in a piece about women and Passover for The Park LaBrea News / Beverly PressClick HERE to read the article
Connect to our Sanctuary Camera-Watch Shabbat Services- LIVE Fridays!
Read Rabbi Eger's Weekly Torah Commentary
Review Rabbi Eger's Sermons
Sustain and Support our Congregation by making a Donation
Go to the weekly E-Koleinu Newsletter
Every purchase you make through our marketplace helps to support us financially.