Lesbian To Head Southern California Board Of Rabbis

Gay Reform Temple Kol Ami is kvelling that their rabbi, Denise Eger, got selected:

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Congregation Kol Ami, a Reform Jewish congregation serving the diverse community of West Hollywood, today congratulated its Rabbi, Denise L. Eger on her selection as president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. The board is comprised of rabbis of all denominations, Reform, Orthodox, Conservative and Reconstructionist, who work together on interdenominational and interfaith issues. Rabbi Eger’s selection as president is a double milestone as the first woman and first openly gay or lesbian rabbi to become president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. It is also a history-making achievement because some of the denominations do not recognize either women rabbis or gay clergy; they were able to support her selection as a matter of mutual respect. She will be formally installed on May 11th.

“We would like to serve as a model for social and political cooperation in these divisive political times,” said Rabbi Eger. “Orthodox rabbis were able to work with us against Proposition 8, because upholding the Constitutional separation of government and religion is more important to us all than specific issues involved with marriage equality. We will continue to forge bonds within and beyond the Jewish community on numerous social-justice issues, because our shared responsibilities must take precedence over individual differences.”

In recent years the Board of Rabbis of Southern California has worked on food banks, chaplains for local prisons and environmental issues including a novel plan to use modern solar energy to power the ancient eternal lights that burn in every Jewish house of worship. One of Rabbi Eger’s first agenda items will be to address the need for affordable housing in Los Angeles. She notes that religious congregations include political leaders and builders and developers, alongside people who need the housing, offering a unique opportunity to bring all of the constituencies together.

"Rabbi Denise Eger has been an agent of change in our congregation, in our community, and indeed on a national level," said David Levy, executive vice president of the Congregation Kol Ami Board of Trustees. "We are pleased and proud that she has been given this recognition and that she will have a new, larger platform to continue her good works."

Rabbi Eger was founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami 17 years ago. For the past 15 years she has been involved with the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, most recently serving as vice president. She will serve a two-year term as president.

It’s about time that a lesbian was selected to lead this group.

Which Orthodox rabbis opposed Proposition Eight? I only know of Rav Yosef Kanefsky. All the other big Modern Orthodox rabbis in town signed an ad supporting Prop 8, not to mention the traditional Orthodox rabbis who signed as well.

Jane emails:

I am in favor of equal rights and am a Human Rights activist.

Saying that however does not preclude me from wondering about the large number disproportionate number of lesbian Rabbis. This is a result of the massive number of Gay at the American University and Hebrew Union college.

People should be able to attend any school and major in a field they have chosen. However, the above schools need to address the community’s needs, as well. Just as medical schools or Law schools do.

There is no point in drowning in an over-saturated field.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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