About Rabbi David

The first time I stepped foot in Beth Am Israel’s sanctuary, I knew this was home. The warmth and light, the feeling of spiritual uplift, drew me in a deep and powerful way. And the community’s vibe mirrors this precisely. Join us here and you’ll see what I mean. My goal is for Beth Am Israel to be the place where you can explore how Judaism can add meaning to your life and to your family’s life. We do a lot of exploring here together. Through learning. Through prayer. And through doing good in the world. These are the three central pillars of Jewish life, and they are Beth Am Israel’s, too. At Beth Am Israel, you will see the many paths we take to explore learning, prayer and repairing the world together. More ways than you could possibly experience. Our goal is to make space for as many ‘adventures of the soul’ as possible. So you can find the ones that inspire you to connect and to find meaning on your own journey –and your family’s journey. Through this exploration we achieve our other goal here at Beth Am Israel: for you to feel part of an inclusive, participatory community that gives you and your family a sense of belonging. In this connected community, we share together the rhythm of our lives – from the anticipated joyful life cycle events to the unanticipated times of struggle and need. We truly take care of one another as only a weave of committed souls can. I’ve been blessed to serve as Beth Am Israel’s rabbi since 2009. My involvements outside our shul reflect its commitments, and mine. I’m honored to sit on the board of the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn. I had the privilege of serving on the editorial committee of the Conservative Movement’s new prayer book, Siddur Lev Shalem. I chair the Ethics Committee of Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia, on whose board I also sit. And I spend a lot of time participating in communal activities through the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, the Jewish Community Relations Council and POWER Metro, a regional movement for social justice. I’m motivated by the principles of community organizing and by our tradition’s call to us to repair the world each and every day. My wife, Naomi Shapiro, and I live in Penn Valley; we’re the proud parents of Josh, Elijah, and Rosie and our dog Seamus. Enough about me! What I’d really like is the opportunity to get to know you. Please contact me at rabbidavid@bethamisrael.org. Let’s set up a time to talk.


November 1, 2019 2019-11-05T15:31:38-04:00

Daily, I trip over one of the middle blessings of the weekday ‘Amidah. .עַל הַצַּדִּיקִים וְעַל הַחֲסִידִים. וְעַל זִקְנֵי עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשרָאֵל. וְעַל פְּלֵיטַת סופְרֵיהֶם. וְעַל גֵּרֵי הַצֶּדֶק. וְעָלֵינוּ “May Your compassion, Adonai our God, flow to the righteous (tzaddikkim), the pious (hasidim), the leaders of [...]

Divided. United. Worried. Fragments of a Love Letter to the Jewish People – Rosh Hashanah Day 2 5780

October 1, 2019 2019-10-04T11:05:14-04:00

You’ve probably heard this one before. A Jew is shipwrecked on a desert island. Ten years later, a passing ship notices his campfire and stops to rescue him. When the [...]

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