Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller is in his twenty-eighth year at UCLA Hillel as director. He previously served as Hillel Director at Ohio State and as Rabbi of Congregation Ahavat Achim, New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was ordained in 1971 at Yeshiva University where he also earned a Masters Degree in Rabbinic Literature.
Rabbi Seidler-Feller is a lecturer in the Departments of Sociology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA where he teaches courses on the “Jewish Experience in Contemporary America”, on the “Social, Cultural, and Religious Institutions of Judaism” and on “Philosophers and Mystics”. He has taught Kabbalah and Talmud at the University of Judaism, is a Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Wilstein Institute for Social Policy. He is also a member of the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Foundation and is a Lehman Faculty Fellow at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute. He serves on the Governing Council of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, on the Advisory Council of EDAH, a voice of Modern Orthodoxy and is a founding member of Americans for Peace Now.
The International Hillel Center has recently granted Rabbi Seidler-Feller the Hillel Professional Recognition Award “for blending the love of Jewish tradition with the modern intellectual approach of the university” as well as the Joseph Myerhoff Education Award for “inspiring Yom Limud and infusing Jewish renaissance with the magic of Jewish learning.” Rabbi Seidler-Feller is the founder of the Streisand Center for Jewish Cultural Arts at UCLA Hillel and was a rabbinic consultant to Barbara Streisand during the making of the film Yentl. He has authored articles on Judaism and feminism, and the conflict between Blacks and Jews as well as an article “The Land of Israel: Sacred Space or Sanctified Matter” in Three Faiths: One God (ed. Hicks &Meltzer.) He was the editor of the UCLA Hillel Shabbat Siddur, is a member of the editorial board of Tikkun magazine, and co-authored a paper with Professor Jeffery Alexander, of UCLA, entitled: “The Double Standard Cannot Stand: Jewish Status at the University in a Time of Diversity” (Tikkun). He has written an article that was included in an American Jewish Committee monograph in memory of Yitzhak Rabin entitled: “The End of Illusion.”
Rabbi Seidler-Feller has devoted considerable energy to the development of programs and approaches that are intended to reduce ethnic tensions on campus, most especially between Blacks, Arabs, and Jews, and to teach students how to live in an ever more diverse America. He has been an active member of the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Committee and of the Chancellor’s Committee on Religion, Ethics and Values (both at UCLA), has participated in the deliberations of the UCLA Council on Diversity and has been called upon both locally and nationally to offer analysis and guidance regarding inter-group conflict on campus. Chaim is the recipient of the Youth Education Stairways (YES) Award as exemplary clergyman in recognition of these efforts. In Winter 2001, he coordinated a course at UCLA entitled, “Voices of Peace: Perspectives on Confrontation and Reconciliation in the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Attendees included a mix of Arab and Jewish students who have founded the Coalition for Coexistence in the Middle East at UCLA.
He is married to Dr. Doreen Seidler-Feller and is the father of Shulie and Shaul.