David Lazar (rabbi)

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Rabbi David James Lazar (born 1957) is United States-born rabbi-educator, and Rabbi at Temple Isaiah and the Jewish Community Center in Palm Springs, California. He has served communities in Israel and Europe for more than 20 years.[1]

Early life and times[edit]

Raised in a committed liberal Conservative Movement family in Los Angeles, Lazar moved toward Orthodoxy in his teens. After completing his army service in 1980, he was one of the founders of Moshav Gan Or at Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. It is there that he met his wife Sascha Meijers - an immigrant to Israel from the Netherlands - and were married in the summer of 1981, and then moved to Jerusalem the year after.

Lazar was educated at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, where he combined Jewish studies with service in the IDF’s armor-corp. His BA in Bible Studies is from the Hebrew University and rabbinic ordination and MA in Jewish Studies (1993) are from the Schechter Institute. He was also a Jerusalem Fellow at the Mandel School for Educational Leadership(1998–2000).

Rabbinical career[edit]

Before serving as Rabbi at Temple Isaiah, Rabbi David James Lazar served for more than two decades as a congregational rabbi and educator in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Stockholm. He has lived in Israel for most of his adult life, from 1975 until moving to Sweden in 2010, where he served as Rabbi of the Stockholm Jewish Community. He traversed the world of Orthodoxy and returned to his liberal Jewish roots, becoming a Conservative Rabbi in 1993.

In Jerusalem, Lazar served as Education Director at Kehilat Mevakshei Derech (at the time, independent) and was the Rabbi of Kehilat Ya’ar Ramot (Masorti/Conservative). He traversed the world of Orthodoxy and returned to his liberal Jewish roots, becoming a Conservative Rabbi in 1993.[2] He later moved to Tel Aviv, where he was the spiritual leader of Kehilat Tiferet Shalom (Masorti/Conservative). From 2010 to 2013, Lazar was Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Stockholm, Sweden.[3] Lazar currently serves as Rabbi and educator for Temple Isaiah (Moderate/Conservative) Jewish Community Center of Palm Springs, California.[4]

Lazar has worked over the years in a wide variety of educational frameworks such as the TALI school system, Camp Ramah in California and Canada, as well as in the NOAM and Young Judea youth movements.

He is the founding director of RIKMA:[5] Spiritual Community Leadership Development, which has accompanied many of the Masorti/Conservative and Mitkademet/Reform rabbis over the last 15 years.

During his career, Lazar has been active in many non-profit organizations such as the Israel AIDS Task Force, the Jerusalem Open House, and the Rabbinical Assembly. While in Stockholm, and aside from fulfilling his regular duties leading the prayer services at the Great Synagogue, teaching, and counseling members of the community, Lazar was active in GLBTQ advocacy[6] and interfaith dialogue.[7]

Thanks to his unprecedented approach to such topics, production of a feature documentary film started in 2013. “The New Rabbi,” follows the work of Rabbi David Lazar at the Jewish Community of Stockholm. The film is produced and directed by Irene Lopez and Stefan Henriksson, and is expected to be released in 2017.[8]


  1. ^ "Rabbi Lazar". www.templeisaiahps.com. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Home - The Society for Advancement of Education". The Society for Advancement of Education. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Conservative rabbi: I'm being punished for gay marriages". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Orlando vigils take place in Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Rikma". rikma.org.il. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Straight person of the year", 2010-10-18
  7. ^ Radio, Sveriges. "Stockholm rabbi promotes inter-faith dialogue - Radio Sweden". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  8. ^ "The New Rabbi". 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2018 – via www.imdb.com.

Further reading[edit]