Rabbi Brian Leiken
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Rabbi Brian Leiken’s passion for Judaism grew out of Jewish camp experiences in Cleveland and Zionsville, Ind. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1998 with a B.A. in sociology. While there, his interest in Judaism got a new spark when he took a course on Jewish political ethics with Professor Reuven Kimmelman. The teachings of this course created a lasting foundation for Rabbi Leiken’s “personal map” to his own Jewish living.
After graduating with high honors, Brian Leiken became fervent about social action and went to work in Washington, D.C. As a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the lobbying arm of the Reform movement, he had the opportunity to become involved with the Reform movement’s Commission on Social Action, The Interfaith Alliance, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League.
After working in the political field, Rabbi Leiken realized that he wanted to make a contribution at a more individual, rather than legislative level. This decision led him to enter Rabbinical School. Rabbi Brian Leiken was ordained in May of 2007 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Before accepting a position in Temple Beth Sholom in New City, NY he served as an Assistant Rabbi in Temple Shalom in Norwalk, CT.
Rabbi Leiken is an amateur musician and plays guitar, piano and banjo. In addition, he is an accomplished puppeteer. His puppets create a unique form of interaction with small children.
He has extensive knowledge of Jewish history can speak with authority on topics such as medieval Torah commentary, American Jewish History and early Israelite traditions. He incorporated his love of history and music into the study of Jews in American popular entertainment, which ultimately developed into a series of speaking engagements, a website, and being known as “rockin’ rabbi.”
Rabbi and Shara Leiken have two children, Kaleb, 7, and Ari, 4.