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Rabbi Max Chaiken

Rabbi Max Chaiken is proud to serve Congregation Kol Ami as Assistant Rabbi. A native of Teaneck, New Jersey, Rabbi Chaiken also grew up at the URJ Camp Harlam, in Kunkletown, PA. Camp sparked his love for living Judaism, and throughout high school and college, he began to lead communities in song and prayer, building a lifelong passion for creating participatory, musical prayer experiences.
Rabbi Chaiken holds a BA in Economics and Public Policy from Brown University, and was ordained from the Los Angeles campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2018. Throughout his time at HUC, he served numerous communities in various capacities. He served as student rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim in Merced, California, taught religious school at Temple Isaiah, and completed a course in pastoral education at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. During his final two years of seminary, Rabbi Chaiken also served as the rabbinic intern here at Kol Ami.
His rabbinic thesis, “Telling a New Story: A Model for Economic Ethics in Jewish Law” combined his undergraduate interest in economics with his passion for Jewish thought and philosophy. A passionate writer, Rabbi Chaiken was twice awarded the Rubin Memorial Prize for Academic Writing while at HUC in Los Angeles. He has published several articles, including chapters in CCAR Press’ publications The Fragile Dialogue: New Voices of Liberal Zionism (2017), and The Sacred Exchange: Creating a Jewish Money Ethic (2019). Rabbi Chaiken also composes original Jewish music and poetry, and his song Eliyahu Hanavi was first published in the Ruach 5771 compilation produced by Transcontinental Music, and most recently his "Cucumber Nigun" (a wordless melody) was published in Nigun Anthology III.
In early 2019, Rabbi Chaiken began to serve as an InterfaithFamily Rukin Rabbinic Fellow. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis.
Here at Congregation Kol Ami, Rabbi Chaiken directs The Open Yad Project, Kol Ami’s 20s & 30s community. He also oversees our weekly worship music, teaches various adult education courses, supports our community pastorally, contributes to our social justice initiatives, and oversees Kol Ami’s social media presence and use of technology. He lives in Altadena with his husband, Rabbi Danny Shapiro, and their dog, Oogie. Feel free reach out by email to say hello!
Mon, May 29 2023 9 Sivan 5783