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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.
“The wisdom Steve Leder shares in this moving book is an essential part of living a beautiful and meaningful life. Read it and feel inspired.”
“Steve Leder’s words are a balm to the soul. The Beauty of What Remains encourages us to confront our feelings about death head-on, and reminds us not to fear the end of life on Earth, but to embrace what it can teach us while we’re here. Steve’s own stories and experiences are written in that exquisite way that makes it feel as if you’re speaking to a good friend. This book is a must-read.”
Mallika Chopra, Author of Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy
“Rabbi Steve Leder writes about grief and pain in The Beauty of What Remains—but also about the joy and love we can find in the most unexpected places. This gorgeous book will provide comfort to many.”
Jenna Bush Hager
“Rabbi Steve Leder’s wise and kind voice gently guides through his life with his father as well as the lives of so many others he has helped. His personal history makes him and his work so accessible and satisfying. This warm and insightful book teaches us how to remember what really matters in loss and in life.”
David Kessler, Author of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief
“Rabbi Leder has a way of making us all feel better…even when tackling the difficult subject of death. I was underlining and dog earring from the start. Life lessons on each page.”
Watch Steve’s Latest Videos
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,” [...]