Rabbi Denise L. Eger is an international Jewish leader, sought after speaker and social justice activist. She is the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, in West Hollywood, CA. She is Past President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the international organization of over 2300 Reform Rabbis. She served as the first openly gay or lesbian person in that position. She also was the first woman ever elected as President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis which includes Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Orthodox Rabbis.
Rabbi Eger is the editor of the groundbreaking book, Mishkan Ga’avah: Where Pride Dwells: A Celebration of LGBTQ Jewish Life and Ritual (CCAR PRESS, 2020). This collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy, and rituals is both a spiritual resource and a celebratory affirmation of Jewish diversity. Giving voice to the private and public sectors of queer Jewish experience and allies. She also wrote a companion study guide for this book which is available at https://pride.ccarpress.org.
Rabbi Eger is also the co-editor of Gender and Religious Leadership: Woman Rabbis Pastors and Ministers (Rowman and Littlfield, 2019). This volume analyzes historical and recent developments in female religious leadership and the larger issues shaping the scholarly debate at the intersection of gender and religious studies.
She has contributed to many books including in the Social Justice Torah Commentary (CCAR PRESS, 2021); The Sacred Calling (CCARPRESS, 2016 ) The Sacred Encounter (CCARPRESS,2014), Women’s Torah Commentary (URJ Press, 2007) Women’s Haftarah Commentary (Longhill Partners, 2004)
Eger was named as one of the 50 most influential Jews by Forward and one of the 50 most influential women rabbis. Huffington Post named her as the #1 LGBT Clergy Person in America. Most recently recognized for her activism by the City of Los Angeles as a trailblazer, she has won numerous awards for her leadership and activism from the Human Rights Campaign, the City of West Hollywood, the California State Senate and State Assembly.
Rabbi Eger coaches non-profit executives and clergy through her company ReZilience Strategies.
Raised in Memphis, TN, Rabbi Eger 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. She received her Doctor of Divinity in 2013 from HUC-JIR. Eger is a Sr. Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Eger is married to Rabbi Eleanor Steinman who serves as Rabbi of Temple Beth Shalom in Austin, Texas.
(This biographical statement provided by Denise Eger.)
Biography Date: April, 2004; rev October 2021
Jewish (Reform) | AIDS | Clergy Activist | California | Los Angeles
“Rabbi Denise L. Eger | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed January 17, 2022, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/denise-l-eger.