Denise L. Eger

Denise L. Eger, Rabbi, D.D., Advisor

Rabbi-Denise-L-Eger

Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Denise L. Eger graduated with a B.A. in Religion from University of Southern California, a M.A. from Hebrew Union College (1985), and was ordained as Rabbi at HUC (1988). Rabbi Eger served pulpits in Canada, New York and Los Angeles where she is the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami. She is a noted speaker on the topics of the changing Jewish family, human sexuality, LGBTQI issues and Judaism, AIDS, spirituality and health issues in Judaism and politics, and Progressive Judaism. The Jewish Daily Forward named Rabbi Eger one of the 50 most influential Jewish leaders (2008) and one of the 50 most important women rabbis (2010). In 2009 she was named by National Women’s Political Caucus’ 12 Remarkable Women for 2010, and was named a GLBT Icon by the Equality Forum (2011).

Rabbi Eger became the 60th President (2015) of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the largest organization of rabbis in the world, and its first openly gay or lesbian rabbi to that position (see her Presidential Installation speech). She continues to serve on its Board, and Human Sexuality Committee. Rabbi Eger is a past President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis (the first woman and openly gay person to do so) and past President of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. She is an Overseer of HUC’s Los Angeles Campus, and a past Treasurer of the Women’s Rabbinic Network.

Rabbi Eger was the founding President of the Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Interfaith Clergy Association. 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 and recipient of HRC’s Equality Award. She is a board member of the Institute for Sexual Orientation and Judaism of Hebrew Union College. She is co-author of the official Reform movement gay and lesbian wedding liturgy, and in 2008 officiated the first legal wedding for a lesbian couple in California. Rabbi Eger 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.

Rabbi Eger contributed to the following publications:

  • Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian, Gay and Jewish (Beacon Press).
  • Judaism and Homosexuality in Positively Gay (Celestial Arts).
  • Jewish Questions Our Children Ask (Union of American Hebrew Congregations).
  • Conflicting Vision – Contemporary Debates in Reform Judaism (Routledge Press).

Read Rabbi Eger’s full bio here.