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Profiles

David Markowitz

On your way to campus, the bus drops you off about a block away from the main entrance, and you get off and follow the crowds of students heading in the direction of the campus. There’s a stand holding the university’s daily paper, named the Daily Bruin, and you know that you’re in UCLA. You stroll through the campus, among the students jostling their way down Bruin Walk, UCLA’s main thoroughfare. There are tables set up all along the Walk, staffed by individuals of all stripes and colors.

There’s the Moslem table, those of all sorts of other religions, and even a table for those who want to go to camp in Cambodia. You are courted by this fraternity or that sorority, and you may stop to watch a video set up by the Jewish society on the dangers of Islamic terrorists.

In the midst of this, you’re approached by a pleasant young man with an engaging look on his face who wants to know if you are Jewish, and if so, would you care to join him and his family for the Friday night meal this coming Sabbath. How beautiful, you think to yourself, and you watch students give him their names and numbers, never dreaming where this is going to lead them. This is Rabbi Dave, who with his wife Devra, are integral components of the “JAM” Kiruv organization of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Zaret.

Originally from East Brunswick, New Jersey, Dave was always involved in both intensive learning and Kiruv, in particular NCSY Kiruv efforts and Kiruv camps. He originally learned at Yeshivat Gush Etzion, and after marriage, finishing University, and the birth of their first child, David and Devra moved back to Yisrael. While there, Devra taught at Be’er Miriam Seminary, while David learned in Kollel, soon joining The Jerusalem Kollel. While there, he initiated and ran the National Staff Training Program for NCSY Advisors. After David’s receiving S’micha from both HaRav Berkovits and HaRav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg, the couple returned to United States to work in full time Kiruv.

Back in the States, the stories of the people that they meet and help could easily fill a book.

For example, one day, while making his rounds on Bruin Walk, Dave met a young man, and convinced him to part with his e-mail address. A few days later Dave sent the young man an e-mail asking him whether they could meet for coffee sometime. The reply he received was most interesting: Would Rabbi Dave be interested in officiating at his wedding, the young man asked?

Rabbi Dave, who had only recently left the Kollel, was undaunted by the challenge. Together with his wife, they met the young couple and began introducing them to what a Jewish wedding is all about, helping them reach a level where they would be able to have a proper Chupah.

Per the couple’s request, the wedding took place on an L.A. beach, under a starry sky, officiated by Rabbi Dave. To deal with the intricate Halachic intricacies of this special situation, he was guided by Rabbi Berkovits, who was on hand- participating in this special occasion via telephone to Eretz Yisrael.