Hi! I’m Jesse Paikin.
I’m an educator, designer, facilitator, and rabbi. I teach internationally, with a focus on Talmud, Jewish Spirituality, and experiential education. My strategic and consulting work involves curricular design, staff training & culture, and branding & communications strategy.
I currently serve as Executive Director of Base, a movement of pluralistic Jewish homes offering spiritual guidance and rabbinic mentorship for those in their 20s and 30s. Base is a project of Moishe House, the largest organization serving post-college Jewish young adults globally.
My work in building community through learning and spirituality builds on years of experience as a teacher, consultant, and spiritual guide. I am currently a Masters Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where I am studying adult development, and spiritually integrated pedagogy. I also hold a degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies from York University, a Graduate Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education and an MA in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. I also have advanced training in psychotherapy and resiliency-informed counselling, having completed multiple clinical residencies.
I have studied at Yeshivat Hadar, New York University, the University of Toronto, and the National Theatre School of Canada. I learn regularly with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and am a trained facilitator by Resetting the Table, an organization supporting collaborative deliberation and courageous communication across divides.
Before heading to graduate school and becoming a rabbi, I worked with a nonprofit that ran educational travel programs around the world.
From 2018-2020, I held a Rabbinic Fellowship from the Jewish Emergent Network, a group of seven upstart, independent spiritual communities, through which I worked at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, DC.
I am currently a Research Fellow with M², the Institute for Experiential Jewish Education, where I am researching and designing new pedagogies to influence the ways that Jewish educators teach.
I’m the creator and host of the short-form explainer podcast, Shoot! which features one big Jewish question each episode, plus answers with integrity and inspiration, and the untold stories behind the questions. My writing and work have also been featured in Maclean’s, Fast Company, Jewschool, Sh’ma, and Times of Israel.
Some of what I’ve written has been graciously published by people smarter than me. Some of the photos I’ve taken have also been used by people cooler than me. If you want me to write something for you, or take some photos for you, we should talk.
What I Care About
Judaism is a mindful reminder and an elaborate system of practice that shows me I am a part of something much, much bigger than myself. But it’s also a way for me to experience the closeness of community and know that I am not just one small speck in the universe. I became a rabbi because I wanted to figure out how to navigate the journey between the grandeur and awesomeness of the universe, and the holy importance of human-to-human relationships.
I love that no two days and no two hours of the same day are alike. My work is filled with one-on-one meetings with inspiring students, studying ancient texts that astonish me with their modern wisdom, engaging in spiritual practice to rejuvenate the soul, and extolling the virtues of the great Jewish gift that is the Montreal Bagel (look it up and figure out how to get one, you’ll be happy you did).
I’m a grateful citizen of Canada – originally from Toronto, and have lived in Montreal, Jerusalem, New York City, and Washington DC. I’ve worked with Jewish communities in Toronto, Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Belarus, Poland, The Czech Republic, and across New York.
Other things to know: Music listener. Band follower. Lover of the hidden FedEx arrow. Vegetarian pretending to be vegan. Hater of mediocrity. Lighting designer. Photo grapher. Forever a New Yorker. I went to Montessori – that explains a lot.
You can find me on Academia and Instagram, but these days, I’m trying to slow down on social media.
And whatever you do, take care of your shoes.