Rabbi Max Chaiken has been selected as the new spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel of Andover. Rabbi Chaiken will assume his new position on July 1 following the retirement of Rabbi Robert S. Goldstein who has led the congregation for the last 31 years.
Rabbi Chaiken currently serves as the associate rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, California. At Kol Ami, he founded The Open Yad Project, a community of adults in their 20s and 30s – focusing on outreach and leadership development. He also facilitated weekly and holiday music for worship, taught a wide range of classes, and attended to the pastoral and lifecycle needs of the congregation. He is a nationally recognized song leader and professional Jewish musician.
“We are thrilled our search has led us to Rabbi Chaiken and are confident his warmth, intelligence, approachability, and enthusiasm will be wonderful assets as he leads our congregation into the future,” said Search Committee Chair Amy Riemer. “His commitment to embracing and welcoming all who are interested in Judaism is clear, as is his dedication to social justice. Rabbi Chaiken’s strength and collaborative leadership will help our congregation to thrive, and we look forward to learning and growing with him for many years to come.”
Rabbi Chaiken said, “As I get to know the Temple Emanuel community, I have been inspired by its history. It energizes me to learn about the vibrant home you have built for Jewish life in Andover, and the Merrimack Valley. I continue to be impressed by your commitment to ensuring that Temple Emanuel will remain a home for living Judaism for years to come. From thriving schools and youth programs to diverse musical groups and learning at all ages; you have shown me what a remarkable community you have already fostered. I truly look forward to leading Temple Emanuel in holiday celebrations and meaningful, intentional worship, as well as social and cultural opportunities for this thriving congregation.”
Rabbi Chaiken succeeds Rabbi Robert S. Goldstein who has been a pillar of strength for his congregants through all of life’s ups and downs. “We are beyond grateful to Rabbi Goldstein for his dedication to our congregation for so many wonderful years. We have been honored and blessed to have him as our leader, our friend, and the Jewish voice of the Merrimack Valley for the last three decades. We wish him, and his family all the best as they move on to their next chapter. They will always be an important part of Temple Emanuel’s rich history,” said Temple President Marc Freedman.
A native of Teaneck, New Jersey, Rabbi Chaiken holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, where he wrote his rabbinic thesis on “Telling a New Story: A Model for Economic Ethics in Jewish Law”. He has extensive camp and youth work experience, taught at several Jewish schools in the Boston area, and currently serves as a rabbinic fellow with the Interfaith non-profit, 18Doors. He lives with his husband, Rabbi Danny Shapiro, and their dog Oogie.
To learn more about Rabbi Chaiken, visit maxchaiken.com.