Laura Geller

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Laura Geller
Born 1950
Education Brown University
Occupation Rabbi
Title Rabbi

Laura Geller (born 1950) is an American rabbi. She serves as the rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California.

Early life and education[edit]

Geller was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts until she was 15, when her family moved to New York City. She attended the Dalton School, then graduated from Brown University in 1971.[1][2] Geller was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1975.[3] In 2000, she was part of the first group of rabbis to attend the Jewish meditation training program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.[4][5]


Prior to her current position, she was the director of the American Jewish Congress branch in Los Angeles from 1990 until 1994.[1] She was also the founding Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Human Relations Commission.

Temple Emanuel.

In 1994, she became the first female rabbi to lead a major metropolitan congregation, Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California.[1][6] She was also the first female rabbi to become Hillel director at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, a job she held for fourteen years.[3] While at Hillel, she co-organized the national conference "Illuminating the Unwritten Scroll: Women's Spirituality and Jewish Tradition."[6]

She has been awarded the A.C.L.U. of Southern California Award for Fostering Racial and Cultural Harmony, the Alan J. Kassin Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement, the Los Angeles County Commission on the Status of Women Recognition Award, and the Woman of the Year Award from the California state legislature. In 2000, she was declared one of the "Hundred Most Distinguished Brown University Alumni of the Past Century," and in 2007 The Forward named her one of the "Forward 50 Individuals who are doing or saying things that are making a difference in the way American Jews view themselves (and who) have left a mark." [6] The Forward also named her one of the “50 Most Influential Woman Rabbis in America," and the PBS documentary The Jewish Americans featured her.[6] She served on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College from 2001 until 2008.[2] She is a Rabbinic Fellow at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.[6]

In 2010 she was featured in the documentary film Kol Ishah: The Rabbi is a Woman, directed by Hannah Heer.

She wrote the pieces "Rediscovering Regina Jonas: The First Woman Rabbi" and "Women Rabbis and Feminism: On Our Way to the Promised Land", which appear in the book The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate, published in 2016.[7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b c "Laura Geller | Jewish Women's Archive". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  2. ^ a b "Rabbi Laura Geller". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  3. ^ a b Women imagine change: a global ... - Eugenia C. DeLamotte, Natania Meeker, Jean F. O'Barr - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  4. ^ Rebecca Spence, "Meditation Hits the Jewish Mainstream", The Jewish Daily Forward, August 11, 2006.
  5. ^ Sue Fishkoff, "Wednesday the rabbi sat still", Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 21, 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Rabbi Laura Geller | Rabbi Jonathan Aaron | Rabbi Jill Zimmerman | Los Angeles". 2006-08-24. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  7. ^ Hirshel Jaffe. "The Message of the Sacred Calling: Our Journey to True Equality | RavBlog". Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  8. ^ Zauzmer, Julie (2012-12-14). "'I not only envisioned it. I fought for it': The first female rabbi isn't done yet". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-05-26.
  9. ^