Temple Beth El

Rabbi Charles K. Briskin

Rabbi Charles K. Briskin began his tenure at Temple Beth El since after serving four years as part of the clergy team at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California. He was ordained in 2001 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and prior to ordination earned his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Between college and rabbinical school, he worked at Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel in Cambridge, MA.
Rabbi Briskin brings his passion for social justice, learning and spiritual growth into much of his rabbinate. His leadership has strengthened the congregation through innovative programs that help connect people to one another and to God, through service, study and prayer.
Rabbi Briskin loves to engage with those who feel connected to Temple Beth El, be they an affiliated member or not. He is committed to reaching out to all who seek to strengthen their connection with this Jewish community and their Jewish heritage, those who yearn to learn more about Judaism, be they Jewish or not, all while helping to sustain the congregation's warm and welcoming environment.
Rabbi Briskin applies his experiences with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and Making Prayer Real to the work he does within the congregation around areas of spiritual growth and development.
Rabbi Briskin is also a strong advocate for issues of Social Justice. He helps direct a number of Temple Beth El service and advocacy projects in San Pedro and beyond. Rabbi Briskin serves in leadership roles with Reform California and the Joint Commission on Social Action both of which help direct policy for the Union for Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Briskin views community engagement as an extension of his rabbinic work. He has served on the Board of Directors for Harbor Interfaith Services; is a founding member of the San Pedro Faith Consortium; he is an active member, and past-president of the Rotary Club of San Pedro; he also serves on the Bio-Ethics Committee and the Mission Committee of the Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center; His Clergy Viewpoint columns appear periodically in the Peninsula News.
Rabbi Briskin also works with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion serving as the vice chair of its Rabbinic Alumni Association, and he has served as a mentor for several rabbinical students through the Aranoff Mentoring Program and the Rabbinic Student Internship program at the Los Angeles Campus of HUC-JIR. He also serves on the Faculty of Camp Newman every summer.
Rabbi Briskin has lived in Israel for extended periods of time and has visited many other times, including leading congregational trips. Deeply committed to Israel and its Jewish and democratic values, Rabbi Briskin tries to help his congregants understand Israel through study, advocacy and by recognizing the deeply complicated issues that Israel faces both internally and externally with a great deal of nuance.
Rabbi Briskin enjoys cycling, wine collecting, and some golf and hiking (but not nearly enough.) He enjoys attending live sporting events, although his greatest enthusiasm is reserved for the sports teams from his home town of Boston. Most important to him is the quality time he enjoys with his wife, Karen, an elementary school teacher in Rancho Palos Verdes, and their two sons. The Briskins live in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Email Rabbi Briskin at rabbibriskin@bethelsp.org.