Rabbi David Evan Markus brings joyful Jewish passion in many forms – traditional and innovative liturgy, classical and modern music, spiritual poetry and mentorship, mystical practice, uplifting text study and heart-centered humor – to breathe new life into Jewish life for today and tomorrow.
Rabbi David is North America’s only pulpit rabbi simultaneously holding a full-time public oath of office. Unique in modern life, he weaves the spiritual and secular on terms fully faithful to each. For his historic contributions to both spheres, Jewish Week honored Rabbi David as one of the “36 to Watch in Jewish Life” for 2022.
IN SPIRITUAL LIFE
David is a dynamic prayer leader, and creative and empowering teacher. He serves as rabbinics faculty for the Academy for Jewish Religion and past faculty for the ALEPH Ordination Program. A Rabbis Without Borders fellow, he is a sought-after officiant, shabbaton anchor and scholar in residence for communities and colleges across North America. He has been lead presenter at Yeshivat Maharat, Isabella Freedman, Limmud New York, Routes DC, Limmud Toronto, Pride Ottawa, Hillel, CLAL and OHALAH (trans-denominational clergy association for Jewish Renewal).
An accomplished vocalist, pianist and composer, David directs TBE’s Band by the Sea melding Jewish tradition, congregational favorites and original heart-opening music. A prolific writer, David has published widely in The Forward, The Wisdom Daily, My Jewish Learning, prayerbooks and online platforms. With R. Rachel Barenblat, he co-edited Beside Still Waters (Ben Yehuda 2019), and serves as senior editor for Bayit: Building Jewish – a trans-denominational Jewish creativity initiative whose Board of Directors he also chairs.
David maintains an active spiritual direction practice for seekers, including clergy and students. With his unique background in governance and community leadership, David serves congregational and board consultant for communities within and beyond denominational life. David was honored to serve as co-chair of ALEPH, umbrella organization for the Jewish Renewal legacy of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l.
David earned ordination after six years of study with ALEPH and a summer term at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Rabbi David is blessed to count among his teachers Rabbi Dr. Arthur Green (Hebrew College), Rabbi Jeff Fox (Yeshivat Maharat) and Dr. Erica Brown (Yeshiva University). He earned a second ordination as mashpia (spiritual director), also from ALEPH, and a graduate certificate in spiritual entrepreneurship from Columbia Business School.
David came to Temple Beth El as an intern in 2009. The community promoted him to Associate Spiritual Leader in 2011, then co-rabbi in 2015 alongside Rabbi Shohama Wiener. The congregation unanimously promoted Rabbi David to Senior Rabbi as of July 1, 2019.
IN SECULAR LIFE
David is a multiple award-winning public servant for the people of New York. He presides as Judicial Referee in New York Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District. His prior public roles include Deputy Counsel under New York Chief Judges Jonathan Lippman and Judith Kaye, Special Counsel to the New York Senate Majority, Deputy Director of Voter Protection for a winning presidential campaign, senior law clerk with the New York Court of Appeals, legislative director in the New York Assembly, and policy aide to environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
He has served as faculty in graduate public administration at Pace University, and undergraduate political science and public policy at Fordham and Pace Universities. He has been a regular lecturer in continuing legal and judicial education programs across New York. He is a member of numerous access to justice initiatives and the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Lawyer Assistance.
Rabbi David earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Williams College; a Masters in Public Policy on full merit scholarship from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was history’s first student to earn Harvard’s global Innovator in Public Service designation and the Goldman Prize for Press-Politics and Public Policy; and a Juris Doctor magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, which named him Taubman Fellow for State and Local Government.
Rabbi David lives in Westchester County, New York.