Rabbi Denise L. Eger




Rabbi Denise L. Eger was raised in Memphis, TN. She graduated with honor's 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 now the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood's Reform Synagogue.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. Rabbi Eger is Vice President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis and is first Vice 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 is active on the steering committee of the California Faith for 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 advisory board member of Jewish Mosaic.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 served on Human Sexuality Committee of the CCAR and represents the CCAR on the Joint Commission on Synagogue Management with the UAHC.

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, 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).

Rabbi Eger has won numerous awards for her dedication and activism. Rabbi Eger's partner is Karen Siteman, past chair of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center Board of Directors. They have a fourteen year old son, Benjamin.