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RABBI DAVID MAXA

REFORM RABBI IN PRAGUE, LIBEREC AND DĚČÍN

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"Peace, peace to those far off and to those nearby, said the Eternal." (Isaiah 57:19)


Shalom and welcome to my website! My name is David Maxa and serve as a young Progressive (Reform, Liberal) Rabbi in Prague and other places in the Czech Republic.

I was born in 1990 and grew up in Prague. At the time of my childhood, which followed forty years of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia, Jewishness was a stigma, accompanied by awkward silence. For me, the son of a Shoah survivor, this silence was only occasionally interrupted by stories and yellowed photographs of my perished ancestors. I identified being Jewish with visiting the cemetery, placing stones on the graves of my ancestors as well as commemorating my murdered family members at the Pinkas Synagogue, whose walls are covered by the names of 80,000 victims of the Shoah. These were the only manifestations of my own Jewish past, of a rich, but tragically destroyed Jewish heritage. Silence, a void. 


After my father’s death, I decided to explore my Jewish roots; it was not enough to connect my Jewish identity solely with the past, I was yearning for more. In 2010, this search led me to the Judaic studies at Charles University in Prague. In 2014, I enrolled in the Abraham Geiger College at the University of Potsdam, which follows the tradition of the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, a rabbinical seminary that functioned in Berlin between 1872 - 1942, with the intention to return to the Czech Republic after my studies and help to renew Jewish communities there. During my rabbinical studies I spent one year at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and three other rabbinical schools - Hebrew Union College, Shalom Hartman Institute and Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. I finished my studies by defending my rabbinical thesis The Role of God in the Story of Cain and Abel and earned a master's degree in Jewish Theology. My rabbinic ordination took place 10 September 2020 in the Synagogue Rykestraße in Berlin. As my rabbinical motto I chose a verse from Prophet Isaiah that appears over the northern arcade of the Smíchov Synagogue in Prague: ""Peace, peace to those far off and to those nearby, said the Eternal." (Isaiah 57:19) 


Since 2020, I have been serving as the Rabbi of the Progressive Jewish Community Ec chajim in Prague, which I co-founded in 2019, and the Federation of the Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, in which I serve as the rabbi of the Jewish communities in Liberec and Děčín and am in charge of the area of Progressive Judaism. Since 2021, I have been the Convenor of the Central European Beit Din (CEBD), the only rabbinic court for Progressive stream acknowledged by the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and the European Union for Progressive Judaism for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. I am a regular member of the EUPJ Rabbinic Assembly (ERA) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and an associated member of the General Conference of Rabbis in Germany (Allgemeine Rabbinerkonferenz - ARK). 


In 2021, Charles University in Prague awarded me by the Miloslav Petrusek Award for my participation in the project Nezapomeneme ("We will not forget"), whose goal is to raise awareness about Holocaust among the students of primary and secondary schools. I volunteer as a member of the Editorial Board of the Memorial Scrolls Trust, which is based in London and cares for 1564 Czech Torah scrolls that represent the lost Jewish communities of Bohemia and Moravia. In addition to Czech, I fluently speak English, German and Hebrew. I am married to Judita Maxa Bergmannová and we have one son.