Rabbi David is a skilled music director and composer who brings years of musicianship to bear on his rabbinic work.

Creative / contemporary settings

Esther 2021: From Darkness to Light

Purim retold, weaving tradition’s Book of Esther with actual transcripts from modern politics and news events ripped from the headlines. Join Rabbi David Markus and Bayit for this audiovisual remix of Purim’s timeless journey of empowerment and transformation from hate to joy and darkness to light. (A list of sources, and PDF of text marked up with cantillation / trope, can be found here at Builders Blog.)

Originally published here at Bayit. (February 2021.)

Isaiah 58 + Sounds of Silence for Yom Kippur

Originally published here at Bayit. (September 2018)

Isaiah 58 + Sounds of Silence haftarah

In response to a request on the Dreaming Up High Holidays 2020 Facebook group, R. Shafir Lobb turned the text of R. David’s haftarah into a video suitable for screenshare during this pandemic year:

YK a.m. haftarah – Isaiah + Sounds of Silence [pdf]

Two poems for Rosh Hashanah Day 2

Originally published at Bayit. (August 2018)

Mary Oliver – Invitation

To download in high resolution, click here: RH2 haftarah DEM – Mary Oliver (Invitation)[pdf]

Stanley Kunitz – The Layers

To download in high resolution, click here:  RH2-Haftarah-The Layers [pdf]

Chanah in poetry and trope

A contemporary poem by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat and Rabbi David Markus, set to haftarah trope by R. David Markus, originally published at Bayit. (August 2018)

Chanah haftarah in trope

To download in high-resolution: click here – Chanah – REB / DEM, with trope [pdf]

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech

Set to trope by R. David for MLK weekend 2018, also published at Bayit and at OpenSiddur.

You can download an annotated PDF of the speech marked-up in haftarah trope here

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Set to trope by R. David Markus for Purim / Women’s History Month 2018, also published at Bayit.

This trope mash-up of Esther and the 2/7/2017 Congressional Record (“nevertheless she persisted” silencing of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren) commemorates Purim and Women’s History Month at a time when society especially needs brave truth tellers to hold back the tide of hate.

Purim affirms Esther’s stand against official silencing, abuse of power, misogyny and anti-Semitism. At first an outsider, Queen Esther used her insider power to reveal and thwart official hatred that threatened Jewish life and safety. We celebrate one woman’s courageous cunning to right grievous wrongs within corrupt systems.

The archetype of heroic woman standing against hatred continues to call out every society still wrestling with official misogyny, power abuses and silencing. For every official silencing and every threat to equality and freedom, may we all live the lesson of Esther and all who stand in her shoes: “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Original liturgical settings

Shalom Rav

Written in late 2014; this recording is from the Reb Zalman Legacy (Digital) Shabbaton in Ashland, OR, June 2020.

Elohai Neshamah

Elohai Neshamah (low-res image; for full resolution, download the PDF below)