Rabbi David did an incredible job making our wedding personal. Our ceremony had the perfect mix of Jewish tradition and our personalities. Our guests raved about the warmth and love in our ceremony. We even had some non-Jewish guests say they wished they could have a ceremony like ours because it felt so unique. Rabbi David ensured the traditional parts of our ceremony worked with our desire to have a strong sense of equality expressed during the wedding. He mixed humor and love in equal parts so that our ceremony reflected us as individuals and as a couple.
— Z.S. & T.S (Boston, MA)
Having Rabbi David officiate our wedding was truly a unique and special experience. After speaking to several Rabbis on the phone and exchanging our needs and expectations, we both felt an instant connection with him. We were living in Miami, Florida and were having our wedding in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while he was based in New York.
The first thing the Rabbi had us do was to fill out an intake questionnaire, which ranged from personal background information to deeper questions requiring explanations. We met with the Rabbi once through his online zoom room (which is an online audio and video service), once in person, and another time in his online zoom room. In addition, the Rabbi was always available to answer any questions we had throughout the process in undesignated and spontaneous times. He even made time to meet our parents, so that the first time meeting them would not be in San Juan.
What made the experience so special is how Rabbi David crafted the ceremony with us. He kept reminding us that our ceremony was to be and feel transformational, and it was. Since one of us had converted into the Jewish faith, it was really important to integrate both of our families. Rabbi David did this to perfection. Altogether, Rabbi David made a process, which otherwise might have been stressful, as smooth as could be. He even brought up many topics of conversations that, in eight years of knowing each other, we had never spoken about before. We become closer as a couple thanks to Rabbi David.
Even months after the wedding, we continue to hear only positive comments on how beautiful, inspirational, inclusive, and touching the ceremony was for everybody who was there.
— C.M. & E.B. (Miami, FL & San Juan, PR)
“When I found out I was having a baby girl and not belonging to a synagogue, I began the difficult search for a Rabbi to perform her Brit Bat ceremony. I was looking for someone very unique. My husband’s family is not Jewish, and his parents speak only Spanish. We are raising her in the Jewish faith, with a love of all her identities, and I needed a Rabbi who would help me create an inclusive, spiritual, modern yet traditional ceremony, AND speak Spanish.
When I was referred to Rabbi David Markus I couldn’t believe all my needs were met. He helped me put together a very personal, beautiful script for her baby naming, and spent a lot of time answering questions and talking me through the details of what was needed for the event. My husband’s family felt incredibly welcome, and everyone commented on how moving and special the day was. I cannot wait to share the memories with my daughter Ariella of her first day being brought into the wonderful world of Judaism.
— Vanessa Hidary (New York, N.Y.)
I am always grateful to sit with Rabbi David in hashpa’ah, always deepened by his quality of listening, guiding my spiritual wrestling into the light of Torah. I always leave with a practice that lifts me into fuller awareness that my journey is not mine alone but belongs to the flow of Spirit and the journey of my people. I am forever grateful.
— J., New York
When I began my spiritual direction journey with Rabbi David, it was more from a place of curiosity than spirituality. In time, I learned that spirituality isn’t a feeling but a state of being: it’s something that dwells inside me even I don’t always “feel” it. That realization has become a great comfort to me in times of stress and a companion in times of joy. I’ve found myself becoming a better listener, being more compassionate with others and myself, and intuitive in ways I didn’t think possible. I may not know what’s on the top of the mountain, but I’ll keep climbing – and I know, I know, that I won’t be alone.
— E., New York
I was lucky enough to start my journey with Rabbi David while in rabbinical school. At each stage, my questions and apprehensions changed in tandem with my connection to the Divine. I knew I could count on my sessions as a safe space to explore my feelings and thoughts and always – always – to connect me back to myself and to G-d in the most spiritually meaningful ways. I’m not sure what magic Rabbi David possesses, but he finds just the right verse or song that speaks to me at that moment – and so often from the Torah portion of the week! I feel grateful and blessed to have Rabbi David with me on my never-ending journey.
Rabbi David is a blessing. Every hour with him has made a difference in my life –sometimes easier, sometimes comforting, sometimes challenging, always deeply real. His intuition about the truths of my life – and the truths of all life – can take my breath away, and help recalibrate me to the depths of my soul. And for someone like Rabbi David, who has such gifts, always to remind that God is my real mashpia – to never take power or credit – has given me a model for how to lead my own life as clergy.
— C., New Jersey
From day one, David was warm, welcoming, professional and, most importantly, made a concerted effort to understand our family and make a connection with our son, Joshua. David’s commitment made our experience unique. His approach to teaching/tutoring was innovative and well rounded, not to mention progressive and tech savvy. He was extremely receptive to our vision, adapting our service by incorporating both traditional and contemporary Jewish customs. Joshua was given the opportunity to have ownership of every aspect of the celebration. It was important for Joshua to have a small intimate setting. We invited only immediate family and close friends. This is where David completely rose to the occasion. He designed and personalized the siddur and we had the most inclusive Bar Mitzvah imaginable. There were quite a few non Jewish guests and throughout the celebration David’s keen ability to bestow wisdom and give significance and meaning through story telling and great humor was remarkable. We are still receiving kudos from relatives and friends. It is our honor and privilege to recommend Reb David: we are looking forward to our next Bar Mitzvah!
— The Myers Family (New York, NY)
David was an amazing officiant and master of ceremonies at our 2011 wedding. As secular Jews who cherish both humanistic values and our Jewish heritage, we came to David hoping for a ceremony that would reflect our particular beliefs and values. As we realized from the first time we sat down together – a two-hour lunch at a Thai restaurant in lower Manhattan – David would not have wanted it any other way. An attentive listener and engaging interlocutor, David encouraged our input and creativity while also challenging us to think hard about which aspects of a traditional Jewish wedding we did – and did not – want to include in our ceremony. Over the course of several meetings, we felt that David made a concerted effort to get to know us and to learn about our families and personal stories. At the ceremony itself, David was a warm presence, and we and our families were delighted with the ceremony he crafted. One highlight came when, as we stood beneath the Huppah, David asked us to close our eyes, breath and take in the moment, something we both found grounding and affirming. Another came when David, who has a beautiful voice, sang a brief prayer, something many of our guests later told us was moving and transporting. We were very lucky to find him, and highly recommend him to anyone looking for an officiant or rabbi.
— Eyal and Mireille (New York, NY)
David conducted a beautiful and meaningful bat mitzvah service for our daughter. Our friends of all religions commented it was one of the nicest services they had ever been to and more important they now understood all the traditions of a bat mitzvah. Along the way, David was patient with our daughter and nicely encouraged her to truly interpret and understand what she was learning. He drew her out with inquiring questions and teased out her answers. In addition, our daughter is a dancer taking seven classes a week. Working with David allowed us the flexibility to fit in sessions around her schedule reducing stress for her and for us.
— Barri Rafferty (Greenwich, CT)
We can’t tell you how many people commented on how they enjoyed the [February 2012] wedding you officiated for us — how it struck the right tone and how inclusive it was. We appreciate the effort you made to tailor it to what we’d find meaningful given our individual propensities, while maintaining the core of tradition we were looking for.
— R.F. & F.T. (New York, NY)
In the late 1990s, my husband and I sought a Jewish spiritual leader willing to work with my husband’s (Roman Catholic) priest. We called on David in hopes that we could all find common ground. What was achieved was so much more. David worked with our priest to craft and officiate a simple, heartfelt and meaningful wedding — one that didn’t just accommodate our faiths but also warmly embraced and celebrated them. We were honored to have David’s leadership, wisdom and good humor.
— Cynthia Sharpe (Overland Park, KS)