Rabbi Denise L. Eger
Rabbi Denise L. Eger is the founding Rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood’s premier Reform Synagogue. Rabbi Eger is the President-Elect of The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the largest rabbinic organization in the world, and will assume the presidency as the third woman and first openly gay or lesbian person in the position in 2015. Rabbi Eger is Past President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, the first woman to serve in the post.
Recently honored by the City of Los Angeles, she was also named by the Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational GLBT Clergy Person in America. In 2010 she was named by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the top 50 women rabbis in North America. In 2008, the Jewish Daily Forward named her as one of the Forward 50—the 50 most influential Jewish leaders in the United States for her work on GLBT rights.
She is the author of numerous articles and has contributed frequently to several anthologies. Her most recent writings include two chapters in the bookThe Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality published by the CCARPRESS. She posts regularly on her blog: Walking Humbly, Seeking Justice, Living with Hope at www.rabbieger.wordpress.com .
See Rabbi Eger’s full biography and list of achievements.
Student Rabbi and Musical Director, Jeremy Gimbel
Jeremy Gimbel is a fifth-year Rabbinic student at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He also has a masters degree in Jewish Education. He grew up in the Reform Jewish world, attending URJ Camp Newman/Swig and URJ Kutz Camp, serving as the Religious and Cultural VP for his synagogue youth group, NFTY SoCal, and the North American NFTY Board. Jeremy graduated from UC Davis with a major in Political Science and a minor in Religious Studies in 2008 and was the Youth Director at Congregation Beth Israel from 2008 until his admission to HUC-JIR in 2011. During his time at HUC-JIR, Jeremy wrote, produced, and directed "The Book of Purim" (A parody of "The Book of Mormon), served at Birkat Shalom on Kibbutz Gezer in Israel, and currently is an Education Intern for the Bureau of Jewish Education of Orange County. He also leads Tiny T'filah with Rabbi Joel Simonds at University Synagogue in Brentwood, CA. Jeremy is married to Sarah Gimbel, PhD., who is a post-doctoral fellow at the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, and is the proud father of Ari Caleb. Jeremy has released 3 studio albums of original Jewish music: "A Blessing in Disguise...", "Let it Happen," and the latest, "Neshama Yetera - Additional Soul."
Student Rabbi Max Chaiken
Max Chaiken is our talented and passionate Rabbinic Intern. Originally from Teaneck, Max studied Public Policy and Economics at Brown University where he stayed until graduating in 2009. From there, he ventured to Boston, where he spent four years teaching music, Hebrew, and various informal youth programs in Jewish day schools and synagogue religious schools. For the past two years, Max has been serving as the student rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim in Merced, California, as well as teaching 6th grade Hebrew here in Los Angeles at Temple Isaiah Religious School.
Cantor Emeritus Mark Saltzman
Cantor Emeritus Mark Saltzman has been a beloved and inspiring presence during his 18 years at Kol Ami. Trained as a classical singer, but comfortable in a variety of styles and periods, Mark creates a warm and inclusive atmosphere. Whether he’s chanting traditional prayers or leading a service of the most recent contemporary Jewish music, he is known for his beautiful singing and heart-filled interpretations.
Cantor Saltzman is also a noted composer of liturgical music whose melodies are sung in many congregations throughout the United States. He is proud to be a synagogue composer published by the URJ’s Transcontinental Music division.