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About Steve Leder
After receiving his degree in writing and graduating Cum Laude from Northwestern University, and time studying at Trinity College, Oxford University, Rabbi Leder received a Master’s Degree in Hebrew Letters in 1986 and Rabbinical Ordination in 1987 from Hebrew Union College. He currently serves as the Senior Rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, a prestigious synagogue in Los Angeles with two campuses and 2,400 families. Rabbi Leder is currently concluding his 225 million dollar campaign to develop the congregation’s historic urban campus encompassing an entire city block. The campus is soon to include a new building by Pritzker Prize winning architect Rem Koolhaas.
In addition to his many duties at Wilshire Boulevard Temple Rabbi Leder taught Homiletics for 13 years at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor and guest on The Today Show, writes regularly for TIME, Foxnews.com, Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, contributed a chapter to Charles Barkley’s book Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man?, and has published essays in Town and Country, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Los Angeles Jewish Journal where his Torah commentaries were read weekly by over 50,000 people. His sermon on capital punishment was included in an award winning episode of The West Wing. Rabbi Leder received the Louis Rappaport Award for Excellence in Commentary by the American Jewish Press Association and the Kovler Award from the Religious Action Center in Washington D.C. for his work in African American/Jewish dialogue and in 2012 presented twice at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
In the New York Times, William Safire called Rabbi Leder’s first book The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things “uplifting.” Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein said he “is everything we search for in a modern wise man; learned, kind, funny, and non-judgmental, he offers remarkably healing guidance.”
Rabbi Leder’s second book More Money Than God: Living a Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul received critical and media attention including feature articles in the New York Times, Town and Country and appearances on ABC’s Politically Incorrect, NPR, and CBS This Morning.
His third book More Beautiful Than Before; How Suffering Transforms Us was reached #4 on Amazon’s overall best sellers list in its first week. It remains a best seller in several categories and has been translated into Korean and Chinese. More Beautiful Than Before has helped tens of thousands of people suffering from emotional or physical pain and continues to receive prestigious media attention including CBS This Morning, The Talk, The Steve Harvey Show, and four appearances on NBC’s Today Show. He is now at work on his next book The Beauty of What Remains; What Death Teaches Us About Life, to be published by Penguin Random House in the spring of 2021.
Newsweek Magazine twice named him one of the ten most influential rabbis in America but most important to Steve is being Betsy’s husband and Aaron and Hannah’s dad. He is also a Jew who likes to fish. Go figure.
“Rabbi Leder is everything we search for in a modern wise man; learned, kind, funny and non-judgmental. For those of us whose daily issues are those of family, love and loss, he offers remarkably healing guidance.”
I highly recommend this powerful book by my dear friend, Rabbi Steve Leder. This is not a book of heartless theory or empty platitudes. Instead, it is a treasure box of time-tested wisdom that can only come from years of experience in helping people. It is clear, compassionate, and compelling.
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From the Desk of Steve Leder
My mom tried her best to say it casually, but it was still such a painful sentence: “Steven honey, now that dad is in the nursing home and the town house is sold, before I give everything away you should go downstairs in the basement and take whatever you want.” My dad was not a materialistic guy. He worried about money his entire life—to the point that even after he made it in business, he still reused his dental floss—after [...]
Rarely a day, rarely a minute goes by when we don't have to decide who we really are. Evil versus good is not a question of them and us and when. It is a question of us and us and now. I don’t remember much from my freshman Intro to Philosophy course 40 years ago, but I do remember a debate about the ancient Latin proverb "Homo hominis lupus-man is a wolf to men." A wolf in this case is [...]
Happy Easter! Happy Easter! Happy Easter! Just writing those words makes me smile. Easter is all about rising and resurrection, as I mentioned last week. That makes me smile this morning as well. Rising isn’t easy, but it is aspirational. Each of us will be called to rise up throughout our lives, and how we answer that call will say a lot about who we are and who we want to be. There will be times when we’ll be called to [...]
Whenever I meet a couple that has been married for more than 50 years I always ask them how they’ve done it. One man said, “We agreed whoever wants the divorce has to take everything in the garage.” A 94-year-old woman whose husband was 96 at the time whispered to me, “We always sleep naked and I keep my hand on Ted’s butt!” It’s gross, but kind of beautiful too. “There are only three words you need to stay married,” [...]