Video Interview

Prayer and Loss

Many Jews do not believe that God personally decides who gets sick or when a loved one will pass away. Is prayer relevant for them when faced with pain and loss? Rabbi Laura Geller discusses prayer and healing for theological liberals.


Rabbi Laura Geller is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills. Prior to being chosen for this position in 1994, Rabbi Geller served 14 years as the Director of Hillel at the University of Southern California and then served as the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress, Pacific Southwest Region. Among her accomplishments at AJCongress was the creation of the AJCongress Feminist Center, which became a model for other Jewish feminist projects around the county.  

Rabbi Geller has been named one of Newsweek’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America for two years in a row and received the California State Legislature’s Woman of the Year Award. She was also featured in the PBS Documentary called “Jewish Americans.”  Author of many articles in journals and books, she is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and served on the Editorial Board of “The Torah: A Woman's Commentary,” in which she has two essays. Rabbi Geller is a Fellow of the Corporation of Brown University from where she graduated in 1971. She was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1976, the third woman in the Reform Movement to become a rabbi.  She is married to Richard A. Siegel, and she is the mother of Joshua and Elana Goldstein and the step-mother of Andy and Ruth Siegel.