Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
Rabbi David's teaching
Rabbi David Seidenberg, the creator of NeoHasid, teaches text and music, dance, and ecology, and all aspects of Jewish thought and spirituality, in their own right and in relation to ecology and the environment. Areas include Kabbalah and Chasidut, Talmud, Maimonides, Buber, davening and Chasidic nigunim, evolution and cosmology, sustainability, and most recently, astronomy (including telescope observations). David has smikhah (ordination) from the Jewish Theological Seminary and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and is one of the world's foremost scholars on Judaism and ecology. His book, Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-Than-Human World, was published in2015 by Cambridge University. David has also worked as an activist and community organizer, and he founded the first Chasidic-egalitarian minyan in the world on NYC's Upper West Side, which was the inspiration for neohasid.org. He has taught at well over 100 synagogues, communities, retreats and conferences across North America (and a few in Israel), and is published widely on ecology and Judaism.
David's teaching empowers learners to become creators of Judaism through deep study and communion with texts and tradition. He brings not only expertise in science (ecology and cosmology) and texts (midrash, Talmud, philosophy, Kabbalah and Chasidus), but also engagement with spirit (mysticism, meditation, davening and nigunim), embodiment, and ritual. His personal practice includes a focus on the "shamanic" dimension of rituals and religious practices like Shabbat and Sukkot.
David does scholar-in-residence Shabbatonim across the country, and is also available for lectures, seminars, and Jewish Studies-related editing and writing. Here are some examples of Shabbaton themes:
The following is a list of classes, workshops and lectures that Rabbi David taught from December 2006 through April 2008. It gives a good idea of the range of his work. For more recent activity, and for links to his online publications, click here.
Tel Shemesh, New York, Dec 7, 2006: "Is There Really Evil? Kabbalah, the 'Death of the Kings', Brokenness and Tikkun Olam"
Kehilat Romemu, New York, Dec 8: Shabbat Torah talk, continuation of "Death of the Kings"
The Carlebach Shul, New York, Dec 9: Seudah Shlishit talk
Rabbis for Human Rights Conference, New York, Dec 11: "Jubilee, the Land Ethic, and Human Rights", at the first national rabbinic conference on human rights
Mitziut, Chicago, Dec 12: "The Spinning Wheel: Reb Nachman on the Dreidl, Redemption, and Reincarnation"
Ohalah Conference of Renewal Rabbis, Boulder, Jan 9, 2007: "Ruach Hakodesh in Social Action and the Izhbitzer's Quest to Know God's Will"
Ikar, Los Angeles, Jan 17: "An Inconvenient Truth" - discussion of film, Torah and activism
Chochmat Halev, Berkeley, Jan 18: Beit Midrash Ruach v'Lev, monthly series
Milken High School, Jan 30: "Global Warming, Kabbalah, and Our Responsibility as Jews", Los Angeles
Congregation Beth Am Israel, Feb 2–4: Tu Bish'vat Shabbaton, scholar-in-residence, Penn Valley (Mainline Philadelphia)
Friday Evening: Chasidishe davening and Tu Bish'vat seder; Saturday Morning: "Evolution, Ecology, and our place in the Universe"; Davar Torah: "Ani v'Ata: Changing the World and Embracing the World"; Tisch: "The Earth as an Image of God"
University of San Francisco, Feb 12: Guest lecture on Judaism and the environment
Chochmat Halev, Feb 12: Beit Midrash Ruach v'Lev combined with Monday night meditation, Berkeley CA
Mitziut, Mar 6: "Unlocking the Mysteries of the Haggadah", Chicago
Torat Hateva, Mar 7–9: Scholar-in-residence at national conference on Judaism and the environment, Toronto OT
Chochmat Halev, Berkeley CA, Mar 22 & Apr 26: Beit Midrash Ruach v'Lev
Congregation Bet Haverim, Davis CA, Apr 27: "Tsfat Shabbat"
University of Judaism Continuing Ed, Los Angeles, Apr-May: "Blessing the Trees", "A Crash Course in Kabbalah"
Congregation Beth Shalom, San Francisco, May 5-7: Scholar-in-residence at Marin County retreat
Teva Learning Center, Jun 4-7: Scholar-in-residence at the annual Educators Seminar, Cold Spring NY
Elat Chayyim, Isabella Freedman, Aug 6-12: "Liberty In the Land for All Her Inhabitants: Justice, Ecology, Sustainability and Human Rights"
Adamah Farm, Isabella Freedman, Aug 8, "Rebbe Nachman and the Song of the Grasses"
Kohenet Training Institute, Isabella Freedman, Aug 8: "A Room of Her Own: The Place of the Divine Feminine in the Light of Kabbalah"
Teva Learning Center and Adamah Farm, Isabella Freedman, Nov 4: in-service training for interns and staff
Beit Midrash at the Jewish Community of Amherst, Weds, Nov 7-Dec 12: Seminar on Chasidic text and thought
Hazon Food Conference, Isabella Freedman, Dec 8: workshop on genetically modified foods and Jewish law
New England Regional Retreat of the National Havurah Institute, Dec 14-16: Kabbalah and eco-Torah at the annual winter retreat in Cape Cod.
Torat Hateva and Narayever shul, Toronto, Dec 18: "The Alter Rebbe's Divine Ecology and the Radiance of the Earth" in Toronto
Congregation Bonai Shalom, Boulder CO, Jan 4-5, 2008: Scholar-in-residence Shabbaton
Congregation B'nai Israel, Northampton MA, Weds, Jan-Mar: Kabbalah for Beginners and Mystics, weekly class
Chochmat Halev, Mar 17: "The Masks of Purim and the Authentic Self", text study and meditation class
Congregation B'nai Israel, Northampton MA, Feb 15, Apr 11, ongoing: Kabbalat Shabbat - egalitarian neo-Chasidic ecstatic davening
Hi David! Looks like you are doing great work.
Posted by: Lisa Horvitz at February 5, 2007 4:46 PM
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006