Rabbi Max Chaiken serves as the associate rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, CA. There he directs weekly worship music, and facilitates The Open Yad Project, a community of young adults in their 20s and 30s. He was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles in 2018, where he wrote his rabbinic thesis on economics, ethics, and Jewish law; he also holds a BA in economics and public policy from Brown University. Rabbi Chaiken lives with his husband, Rabbi Danny Shapiro, and their dog, Oogie.
What makes the Torah different from any other book we read? I posed this question years ago to a group of second graders as we began a lesson about Simchat Torah. “We read it from a scroll,” one student answered.
You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God – you tribal heads, you elders, and you officials, all the men of Israel, you children, you women, even the stranger within your camp, from wood chopper to water drawer – to enter into the covenant of the