RABBI BRIAN LEIKEN
Rabbi Brian Leiken has been the Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since June of 2012. He is passionate about social justice, Jewish history and the study of modern American Judaism. As the religious leader of Temple Beth Sholom, Rabbi Leiken has transitioned the temple into a relational synagogue-one that is built upon the inter- and - intra relationships between the Clergy and its members.
Interacting with the members through ‘Panim El Panim’, or ‘face-to-face’ in English, is very important to him as he strives to connect with each and every congregant. Not only does Rabbi Leiken find creative ways to engage and inspire Temple Beth Sholom’s members, young and old alike, he also finds ways to reach out and connect with the greater Rockland community. Whether it is through his love of music, history, puppets, movies or conversation, Rabbi Leiken fosters a welcoming atmosphere for all. Rabbi Leiken also serves on the Board of the Jewish Community Center of Rockland which allows him to further impart his passion and wisdom to all those around him.
Rabbi Leiken is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated with honors from Brandeis University in 1998 with a B.A. in Sociology. He then 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 Jewish Movement). He had the opportunity to become involved with the Union for Reform Judaism’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.
Rabbi Leiken’s work in Washington led him on a new career path. He attended the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion where he was ordained in May of 2007. Rabbi Leiken then served as the Associate Rabbi at Temple Shalom in Norwalk, Connecticut for five years. During this time, he collaborated with the head photographer of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on a book entitled Jews Rock, which is about the history of Jews in popular music. He also traveled around the country and lectured on the subject for a year.
Rabbi Leiken and his wife, Shara, have two sons, Kaleb and Ari, and reside in Rockland County.