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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
“The more noble a thing is in its perfection,” observed the sage Yohanan ben Zakkai, “the more ghastly it is in its decay.” It’s true. The further something is from its ideal state, the worse we feel about it. Which means the holidays can be awful when you or someone you love is suffering. Even putting aside the national funk that has descended upon us in 2018 with shootings, elections, bickering and scandals, a lot of people this year are [...]
At fifteen I was arrested for shoplifting, getting a D minus in Algebra and mired in acned adolescent angst. Not knowing what else to do, my befuddled parents sent me to a Jewish summer camp in Wisconsin and hoped for the best. The best is exactly what happened. Within hours of my return I missed camp so much my heart hurt. I missed the music, the hippie counselors, the towering, wise rabbis and the pretty girls dressed for the Sabbath [...]
Rick Warren Endorses Steve Leder’s New Book – More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us
LOS ANGELES - February 15, 2018 Rabbi Steve Leder’s bestselling new book, ‘More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us’ (Hay House, November 2017), has found itself at or near the top of multiple bestseller lists, including having outpaced a number of spiritual/inspirational classics. And for good reason, according to Rick Warren, founding pastor at Saddleback Church, one of America’s most influential evangelical voices and a man who knows a thing or two about classics. Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ [...]
In the space of one year, two families at the Temple where I am a rabbi had loved ones killed while they were walking across the street. One, Andrew, had recently graduated from film school and was celebrating with friends who were in town for Christmas week. Before he went out that night, he gave his father a big hug and said, “I love you, Dad.” A few hours later, he was hit by a car and the driver kept [...]