Since becoming rabbi of Beth Chayim Chadashim in 1994, Rabbi Lisa Edwards has been a Jewish lesbian activist from the pulpit, on the page, on the Web, in the classroom, and in the streets of Los Angeles. She has witnessed—and works to counteract—the damage done to LGBT individuals when discrimination is preached by religious authorities and practiced by families and communities of faith. Most of all, she is known as a rabbi who speaks to the hearts of her congregants.
A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Rabbi Edwards is widely published in books on queer and Jewish topics, as well as on websites where her scholarship on traditional Jewish texts combines with the personal and the contemporary. In 2013, The Jewish Daily Forward named her one of 36 “Most Inspiring Rabbis,” and in 2014 the City of Los Angeles honored her as one of seven “LGBT Leaders and Legends.” She is one of eight writers whose essays introduce The Reform Movement’s new Mahzor (prayerbook) for the Days of Awe, Mishkan Hanefesh (CCAR Press, 2015). In 2016 Rabbi Lisa was honored as Pioneer of Pride for her contributions and role in LGBTQ history at the Los Angeles Pride parade.
In addition to ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the seminary of the Reform Movement of Judaism, she holds a BA from Brown University, an MA from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Iowa.
Rabbi Edwards and BCC’s “Lezbtzn” — activist and archivist Tracy Moore — have been loving partners for 30 years, marrying under a chuppah in 1995 and under California law in 2008.
(This biographical statement provided by Lisa Edwards.)
Biography Date: November, 2004
Jewish (Reformed) | Author/editor | Theology | California | Los Angeles
“Rabbi Lisa Edwards provided a warm home for me, as I pursued my graduate studies in the Los Angeles area from 1997-2003. Not only was she and her BCC congregation welcoming to me, but I also benefited from a nearly weekly shabbat experience, parched for reflection and re-centering after a week of challenging intellectual environment at school. Rabbi Edwards also encouraged me to step out and participate in creative projects at BCC that brought me closer to Judaism. I congratulate her and the whole BCC community on their new home in the old neighborhood, and hope to visit them again.”
– as remembered by Jeff Friedman on February 28, 2012
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