My latest (JTA): ‘Reform rabbinic group installs its first openly gay president’

JTA's caption: "Rabbi Denise Eger, center, reads Torah during her March 16 installation as CCAR president. Also pictured, from left to right, Rabbi Paul Kipnes, Rabbi Mara Nathan, Rabbi Oren Hayon and Rabbi Susan Shankman. (David A.M. Wilensky)"

JTA’s caption: “Rabbi Denise Eger, center, reads Torah during her March 16 installation as CCAR president. Also pictured, from left to right, Rabbi Paul Kipnes, Rabbi Mara Nathan, Rabbi Oren Hayon and Rabbi Susan Shankman. (David A.M. Wilensky)”

I was in Philly for much of this week covering the 126th annual convention of the CCAR for JTA. Man, 500 Reform rabbis in one hotel for days on end…. Just kidding. They’re all lovely. (Well, almost all.)

Anyway, here’s my report:

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — In 1988, her sexual identity a semi-open secret, newly ordained Rabbi Denise Eger had trouble landing a job. Decades on, Eger has risen to the top of her profession, installed Monday as president of Reform Judaism’s Central Conference of American Rabbis.

She is the first openly gay person to lead the organization, which is composed of more than 2,000 rabbis affiliated with America’s largest Jewish denomination.

Eger’s installation took place as the Reform rabbinical association marked the 25th anniversary of its groundbreaking 1990 resolution calling for the ordination of openly gay rabbis.

“I never intended to be a gay activist or to be ‘the lesbian rabbi,’ which is ironic because I know that’s the only thing the headlines will say, because I’m more than that,” Eger, 55, told JTA at the annual CCAR conference, held here Sunday to Wednesday. “Maybe they’re shocked to find at the beginning that she’s a lesbian president and that I’m breaking some ceiling, but I was elected because I’ve been a dedicated pastor and rabbi for more than 25 years.”

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You can read the rest over here.

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