As one of the first openly gay rabbis, Denise Eger has spent her career working for greater LGBT inclusion in Jewish communities. Ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1988, Eger became the first full-time rabbi at Beth Chaim Chadashim, a gay and lesbian synagogue in Los Angeles, at the height of the AIDS crisis. Her work included visiting hospitals, officiating funerals, and chairing the review board for an AIDS drug. In 1993 she founded Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, where she still serves as of 2016. Eger co-chaired the Gay and Lesbian Rabbinic Network for two years and was founding president of the Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Interfaith Clergy Association. Having co-authored the Reform movement’s wedding liturgy for gay and lesbian couples, Eger was honored to officiate at the first legal wedding for a lesbian couple in California in 2008. In 2015 she became the first openly gay president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the professional organization for Reform rabbis.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Denise Eger." (Viewed on December 10, 2017) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/eger-denise>.