December 17, 2018

Rosner’s Torah-Talk: Parashat Vayechi with Rabbi Denise Eger

Our guest this week is Rabbi Denise Eger, founder of West Hollywood’s Kol Ami congregation. Rabbi Eger graduated with honors 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. Following ordination, she served Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim for four years as its first full-time rabbi. In June 2008 Eger officiated at the first legal wedding for a lesbian couple in California. In 2013 Rabbi Eger became President Elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis which is the largest organization of Rabbis (More than 2000 Reform rabbis world-wide). In March of 2015 she will become President of the CCAR, the first openly gay or lesbian rabbi to fill that position. Rabbi Eger is a past President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis (the first woman and openly gay person to do so) and a past President of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. As part of her rabbinical activity, Rabbi Eger has also worked extensively with people with AIDS. She is past Co-Chair of the Institutional Review Board for Search Alliance, an AIDS drug research organization.

This week's Torah portion – Parashat Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26) – is the final portion of the book of Genesis. The portion describes the final days of Jacob, the blessing given to his sons, Jacob's death and burial, and the death of Joseph. Our discussion focuses, among other things, on the transformation of the family of Israel into the people of Israel.

If you would like to learn some more about parashat Vayechi, check out our conversation with Rabbi Josh Yuter.