Sunday, June 3, 2007

Rabbi David (Dovid) Zeller

Rabbi David Zeller » Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Foundation:
Living Judaism is not meant to cut you off from the world around you. It is intended to keep you from getting cut off from the world within you.

Rabbi David Zeller zt”l developed an international reputation as a musician, lecturer, and workshop leader in Jewish mysticism, spirituality and meditation, as well as in transpersonal psychology (the psychology of body, emotion, mind, and soul). Whether singing or teaching, David’s work focused on touching the heart as much as the mind and his quiet presence informed his presentations with a unique power.

Rabbi David Zeller zt”l was an internationally known singer, teacher and counselor. He was a pioneer in Jewish spirituality, meditation and transpersonal psychology, and was director of Shevet: Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation, at Yakar, in Jerusalem. Living in Israel, heartspace between East and West, David weaved together the heart and the mind, inner and outer, the spiritual and the material, the theoretical and the experiential, and the orthodox and the pluralistic into a colorful and creative fabric.

In Israel, David led retreats in Jewish Meditation. He is founded Shirat Shlomo, better known as “the Happy Minyan”, where people come to pray with joyous singing and dancing in the style of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. He taught in religious programs including: The Israel Center, IsraLight, Shuva, Bruria, WUJS, Ascent and Livnot, and in alternative health programs and conferences such as Reidman Center for Complimentary Medicine, alternative health and yoga and meditation groups, and concerts and festivals. He was on the board of the San Francisco Federation in Israel.

In North America, in the psychological/spiritual community, David led workshops since 1972 in New York at the Open Center and Omega Institute, Boston’s Interface, Associations of Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology, American Psychological Association, at various Jungian institutes, Yoga centers, Sufi conferences, inter-faith gatherings and universities throughout the continent. In the Jewish world, David taught at Federations, JCC’s, Hillel’s, synagogues of all denominations, for Etz Chaim in Baltimore; Aish HaTorah in Detroit; the Chabad Renaissance Fair in New Jersey; Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley; Metivta and the Academy for Jewish Religion, in Los Angeles; and the Carlebach Shul, Bnei Jeshurun and Elat Chayyim in New York. He connected regularly with many Jewish Renewal Communities and new Happy Minyans in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boulder, Boston, Miami, New York and more, and with private groups in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

In Europe, David was the guest teacher/rabbi at Yakar in London; at Limmud, the largest annual Jewish Educational Conference in Europe (held in England); at Sufi and Taoist gatherings in Switzerland; and Jewish Communities in Graz.

David was the associate director and professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology from 1975 (an accredited doctoral program in California); he founded the Network of Conscious Judaism in 1980, for the integration and dissemination of Jewish teachings and practices in psychology, mysticism and meditation. He was a student of R’ Shlomo Carlebach and of Reb Gedaliah Kenig of Breslov.

David produced cassette tapes and CDs of healing, relaxing, and meditative songs, including: The Path of the Heart, Ruach/Spirit, Let Go/Let God, Goodnight My Sweetest Children, and Chai Ani/I Am Alive. He has several teaching tapes on Jewish mysticism, and meditation, as well as 2 teaching tape sets Tree of Life, and the Stories of Rebbe Nachman.

Rabbi David (Dovid) Zeller died on May 24, during the emotional (for me and my family) days between my father's death and his burial. Dovid's beautiful, pure, almost angelic voice and haunting melodies (many drawn from Shlomo Carlebach and the Breslov and Bobov hassidic traditions) have been a source of solace, consolation, and inspiration for me over the past two decades, particularly during difficult times. His music penetrates more quickly and more deeply to the heart (and other spiritual faculties) than any other of which I am aware. I am allowing myself the luxury of listening to him during this shiva, and now his voice will be forever associated with memories of my father.

His death is a great loss to the Jewish world and to the larger world of spirit.
I am so grateful he and his music came my way, and so sorry I never had the opportunity to meet or study directly with him. What a pure spirit.

No comments: