Rabbi Lisa Edwards


Since becoming rabbi of Beth Chayim Chadashim in 1994, Rabbi Lisa Edwards has been a Jewish lesbian activist from the pulpit, on the page, on the Web, in the classroom, and in the streets of Los Angeles. She has witnessed—and works to counteract—the damage done to LGBT individuals when discrimination is preached by religious authorities and practiced by families and communities of faith. Most of all, she is known as a rabbi who speaks to the hearts of her congregants.

A frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Rabbi Edwards is widely published in books on queer and Jewish topics, as well as on websites where her scholarship on traditional Jewish texts combines with the personal and the contemporary. In 2013, The Jewish Daily Forward named her one of 36 “Most Inspiring Rabbis,” and in 2014 the City of Los Angeles honored her as one of seven “LGBT Leaders and Legends.” She is one of eight writers whose essays introduce The Reform Movement’s new Mahzor (prayerbook) for the Days of Awe, Mishkan Hanefesh (CCAR Press, 2015). In 2016 Rabbi Lisa was honored as Pioneer of Pride for her contributions and role in LGBTQ history at the Los Angeles Pride parade.

In addition to ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the seminary of the Reform Movement of Judaism, she holds a BA from Brown University, an MA from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Iowa.

Selected articles by Rabbi Lisa Edwards

Rabbi Lisa’s prayer for our country (January 2019)
Rabbi Lisa Edwards Pays Tribute to the Late Edith Windsor (The Jewish Journal)
The Summer Our Rainbow Flag Became a Red Flag (The Jewish Journal)
Words for MLK Day
Raise Your Rainbow Flags High! Marriage Equality is the Law of the Land
Why We Are Crying (Jewish Journal)
Time flies: Torah Portion Chukat (The Jewish Journal)
“Not everyone, not yet” (The Jewish Journal)
10 Minutes of Torah (URJ)

High Holy Days Sermons by Rabbi Lisa Edwards

“The Homeless and the House of New Life” Yom Kippur 2018 AM Drash
“Build my house of love:” Kol Nidre 2018/5779
Rosh Hashanah Morning Drash Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779
“It Was My Turn to Go Next:” Kol Nidre 5778/2017
“Beyond the Pale:” 1st Day Rosh Hashanah 2017/5778
“Who will…” – Kol Nidre 5777/2016
“Our differences bring us together:” Rosh Hashanah 5777/2016 Morning Drash

In The Press:
Rabbi Lisa Edwards to be Honored at LA Pride
Rabbi Lisa Honored for LGBT Heritage Month- Photos
May 22 is NOW Harvey Milk Day! Rabbi Lisa Edwards writes the Official Prayer