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Learning from the past, Rabbi Eger forges welcoming future for LGBTQ congregants

Rabbi Denise Eger has broken a lot of ground since her ordination from the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1988.

CUTK_Rabbi_EgerIn March 2015, Eger became the first openly gay or lesbian rabbi to be president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America.

She was also the first woman and openly gay person to serve as the president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis; she was the founding president of the Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Interfaith Clergy Association; and she officiated at the first legal wedding in California for a lesbian couple.

Eger not only is the founder of Kol Ami synagogue in Los Angeles — a leader in the LGBTQ community—but also helped organize the Southern California Gay and Lesbian Jewish Professionals Group, which brings together gay and lesbian rabbis, cantors, Jewish communal workers and educators in the L.A. area.

Eger was at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill last Shabbat for a joint program with Rodef Shalom Congregation, where she delivered a sermon on Friday night and led a workshop on Saturday afternoon with the congregations’ LGBTQ contingent.

“October is Gay History Month,” Eger noted in an interview prior to her arrival in Pittsburgh. During this month various LGBTQ persons in history are honored.

Eger planned to base her Pittsburgh workshop around Gay History Month, she said.

Read the full story on Jewish Chronicle