The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 


 

Rabbi David's teaching

Click here for upcoming and ongoing events and to read David's online publications.

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, davening, evolution and cosmology, sustainability, Maimonides, Buber, and more. 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:

  • "Tsfat Shabbat" - on Chasidus, nigunim and davening, with a special emphasis on embodied prayer, including dance; may include text study of Rebbe Nachman and Shneur Zalman
  • "Kabbalah and the Exuberance of Life" - on basic concepts of Kabbalah and Kabbalistic themes that relate to ecology and issues like biodiversity, climate change, fracking, and genetic engineering; this shabbaton may also include a session on "the souls of Animals in Jewish tradition"
  • "The Passions of Maimonides" - on Maimonides's teachings in the Guide for the Perplexed related to animal rights, organic cosmology, the Gaia hypothesis, as well as his significance in medieval philosophy, and what his work teaches us about the uncensored history of science
  • "The Embodied Earth" - on the Jewish Festivals, ritual, shamanism, the Shmitah (Sabbatical) year, and the human place in the cosmos (especially relevant to Sukkot)
  • "Love Your Neighbor/Love the Stranger" - on human rights, peace, halakhah and politics; this can include contemporary issues like immigration reform or issues concerning Israel, such as the situation of the Bedouin, and study of modern thinkers like Martin Buber or Yitz Greenberg
For more information about these shabbaton programs or about any of the classes shown below, write to: rebduvid86 at gmail dot com.

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, Dec 7: "Is There Really Evil? Kabbalah, the 'Death of the Kings', Brokenness and Tikkun Olam", New York

Kehilat Romemu, Dec 8: Shabbat Torah talk, continuation of "Death of the Kings", New York

The Carlebach Shul, Dec 9, 2006: Seudah Shlishit talk, New York

Rabbis for Human Rights, Dec 11: "Jubilee, the Land Ethic, and Human Rights", at the first national rabbinic conference on human rights, New York

Mitziut, Dec 12: "The Spinning Wheel: Reb Nachman on the Dreidl, Redemption, and Reincarnation", Chicago

Ohalah Conference of Renewal Rabbis, Jan 9, 2007: "Ruach Hakodesh in Social Action and the Izhbitzer's Quest to Know God's Will", Boulder

Ikar, Jan 17: "An Inconvenient Truth" - discussion of film, Torah and activism, Los Angeles

Chochmat Halev, Jan 18: Beit Midrash Ruach v'Lev, monthly series, Berkeley

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 at in San Francisco

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, Mar 22 & Apr 26: Beit Midrash Ruach v'Lev, Berkeley

Congregation Bet Haverim, Apr 27: "Tsfat Shabbat", Davis CA

University of Judaism Continuing Ed, Apr-May: "Blessing the Trees", "A Crash Course in Kabbalah"

Congregation Beth Shalom, May 5–7: Scholar-in-residence at Marin County retreat, San Francisco

Teva Learning Center, Jun 4–7: Scholar-in-residence at the annual Educators Seminar, Cold Spring NY

Elat Chayyim, Aug 6–12: "Liberty In the Land for All Her Inhabitants: Justice, Ecology, Sustainability and Human Rights"; teaching at Adamah Farm program on Rebbe Nachman

Kohenet Training Institute, Aug 8: "A Room of Her Own: The Place of the Divine Feminine in the Light of Kabbalah"

Teva Learning Center and Adamah Farm, November 4: in-service training for interns and staff.

Beit Midrash at the Jewish Community of Amherst,Weds starting November 7: Seminar on Chasidic text and thought.

Hazon Food Conference, Dec 8: workshop on genetically modified foods and Jewish law, Isabella Freedman.

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, Dec 18: "The Alter Rebbe's Divine Ecology and the Radiance of the Earth" in Toronto (to be rescheduled due to snowstorm).

Congregation Bonai Shalom, Jan 4-5, 2008: Scholar-in-residence Shabbaton, Boulder CO.

Congregation B'nai Israel, Weds Jan-Mar: Kabbalah for Beginners and Mystics, weekly class, Northampton MA.

Chochmat Halev, Mar 17: "The Masks of Purim and the Authentic Self", text study and meditation class.

Congregation B'nai Israel, Feb 15, Apr 11, ongoing: Kabbalat Shabbat - egalitarian neo-Chasidic ecstatic davening, Northampton MA.



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Hi David! Looks like you are doing great work.

Posted by: Lisa Horvitz at February 5, 2007 4:46 PM

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Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006