Rabbi David Evan Markus brings to Temple Beth El Island a joyful passion for Jewish expression in many forms — traditional and innovative liturgy, classical and modern music, spiritual poetry, uplifting text study and heart-centered humor.
Rabbi David earned rabbinical ordination after six years of study with ALEPH, a “seminary without walls” emphasizing Jewish spirituality. Rabbi David spent a summer term at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem; in addition to ALEPH teachers, Rabbi David counts among his teachers Rabbi Dr. Arthur Green (Hebrew College), Rabbi Jeff Fox (Yeshivat Maharat) and Dr. Erica Brown. Rabbi David earned a second ordination as mashpia (spiritual director), also from ALEPH.
Rabbi David came to Temple Beth El as rabbinic intern in 2009 during his ALEPH studies. After he completed his internship, the community promoted him to Associate Spiritual Leader in 2011, then co-rabbi in 2015. Today Rabbi David serves alongside Rabbi Shohama, anchors adult and bnai mitzvah education programs, and officiates at community and lifecycle events.
Rabbi David was honored to serve as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, umbrella organization for the Jewish Renewal legacy of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l. He is a Rabbis Without Borders fellow and syndicated writer for The Forward, The Wisdom Daily, My Jewish Learning and The Jewish Studio. He serves as adjunct rabbinics faculty in the ALEPH Ordination Program, and has lectured for Yeshivat Maharat (Orthodox rabbinical seminary for women), Isabella Freedman, Limmud New York, Routes DC, CLAL and OHALAH (trans-denominational clergy association for Jewish Renewal). Rabbi David’s writings regularly appear in academic journals, prayerbooks and online platforms (e.g. Kveller, Shma and T’ruah).
Rabbi David has an active spiritual direction practice. He serves on the ALEPH Spiritual Direction Faculty and as private mashpia for students and clergy from other seminaries across and beyond the Jewish denominational spectrum (JTS [Conservative], HUC [Reform], AJR-NY [independent], Yeshivat Maharat [Orthodox]). Rabbi David is a sought-after officiant and shabbaton anchor for communities across the United States. Rabbi David also is a Founding Builder of Bayit: Your Jewish Home, a trans-denominational Jewish creativity initiative for all ages and stages.
In secular life, David presides as Judicial Referee in New York Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District – making him North America’s only rabbi simultaneously serving a regular pulpit and maintaining a public oath of office. David’s prior public-service roles include Deputy Counsel under New York Chief Judges Jonathan Lippman and Judith Kaye, Senior Counsel to the New York Senate Majority, Deputy Director for Voter Protection of a major presidential campaign, counsel in a regional law firm specializing in estate planning and disability law, senior law clerk with the New York Court of Appeals, legislative director in the New York Assembly, and policy associate to environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Rabbi David has taught 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 State.
Rabbi David also is an accomplished vocalist, pianist, composer and director, as well as a poet. He’s learning to play guitar, and thanks everyone for being (very) patient with his petulant plucking.
Rabbi David earned his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Williams College; his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’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 his 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.