Memories in Photos and Story

"Rabbi David Zeller, Of Blessed Memory, was an internationally known musician, lecturer, and workshop leader in Jewish mysticism, spirituality and meditation, as well as in transpersonal psychology.

From singing, dancing and learning with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in 1966, to eastern meditation practices, enriched through two years in Israel and a year in India, Reb Zeller returned to the West in 1972, helping to pioneer the newly emerging field of Transpersonal psychology. During his life he formed the Network of Conscious Judaism and after moving to Israel helped establish Yakar: Center for Tradition and Creativity, and Shevet ("sitting"): Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation." - www.davidzeller.org
Reb Dovid Zeller, z'tl, passed over on May 25, 2007, 8 Sivan 5767, after battling (the last year of his life) a rare blood disease.
See more photos at end of story.

photo by Joy Krauthammer ©


Baruch Dayan HaEmet

 I wrote this letter upon hearing of the greatest sadness of losing our dear Rabbi David Zeller, z'l. As I call upon my memory of David Zeller, what I receive completely, is a feeling from Reb David of embracing, encompassing love and compassion, for me, for chevre. How better to emulate the Divine One, our Master of the Universe. Ner Hashem Nishmat Adam. David's soul is the shining lamp of G*d. May we continue to send love to David through our good deeds in his zechut.

BlesSings, JOY Krauthammer

One of the sweetest images I have from 1992 is of David pushing his baby in the baby carriage back home around 1 AM in Jerusalem, following a concert that he performed with our beloved Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l.

May 27, 2007

Dovid Zeller, zt"l
Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Dear Chevra,

My deepest condolences to us all. May Reb Dovid Zeller's z'tl family, wife, Hannah Sara, children, and sister, be comforted by the Compassionate One, amongat all mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim. May his loved ones find the strength, given by the Holy One, to endure these difficult, sad, mourning days.

May Reb Dovid's neshama / soul soar and have an easy and sweet aliyah, ascending and expanding to a very high place awaiting him in Sh'mayim / heaven and G*d's Greatness. May his soul find complete peaceful rest.

"Ner HaShem Nishmat Ha'Adam." The light of the Compassionate One is the soul of the human being.

Rabbi Zeller has returned to "The Land of His Soul".

Reb Dovid Zeller, z'tl was my passport into Renewal Judaism, the land of my soul, and to my chevre, and a golden connecting link to my Orthodox community (Happy Minyan), and he knows that he has remained that way these last two decades, being close to my heart. Reb Zeller was all about heart, and he put his multi-dimensional (beyond physicality) art of song into that heart, just as his first wife, Elana, z'l, had put her heart into her 2 D painting art.

Yesterday morning, while I was with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi for Shavuot in the Berkshires at Elat Chayyim and where we had sung Reb Dovid's songs, Reb Zalman shared with us this very very sad news of Rabbi Zeller's death the night before, from this earthly world into the next "after-life" world. Could there be anyone else more spiritually awakened than our beloved Reb Zeller? Could anyone leading up to their transition from this life-cycle and death have, in their sweetness of heart, attained a more clear meditative state of awareness?

Reb Zeller died on the 8th of Sivan, 5767 as we had prepared for and reached Mt. Sinai to receive Torah; Just in time to spend Shabbat with the holy angels that he sang of to us all around the world. Hashem must have mamash needed Reb Dovid. Reb Dovid was kissed by G*d on the 8th, being the most spiritual number, one of covenant, one number beyond all physicality.

On my introspective day long journey home yesterday from the East Coast retreat to Los Angeles, the only thought that halted my tears of sadness, tears felt for the great loss that Reb Zeller's family now has, is that Reb Dovid is with beloved Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z'tl (and they can again sing together), The Ba'al Shem Tov (whose yahrzeit is on Shavuot), Rebbe Nachman, his recently deceased wonderful mother -- Leonora, z'l, his father, z'l, Elana--his loving first wife, z'tl, all those Jungian greats, and Transpersonal Psychology mentors, and friends, z'l, that Reb Dovid has met in his journeys around the world.

Let us sing back to dear Reb Zeller, the songs that he gently, angelically sang from his heart for us, to help assist him on his aliyah to Sh'mayim / heaven, his new Makom / the only place that he did not have to take a jet plane, as he had travelled and given to us all, these many years. Let us do mitzvot in his neshamah's zechut / merit.

Reb Zeller taught me the concepts, NESHAMAH, and Tree of Life. Reb Zeller was my FIRST gevaldt teacher, my first Rebbe (before Reb Shlomo, z'tl). I will miss accompanying Reb Dovid on percussion, and doing anything that I could for him, and just being in his presence--in his light, his gift to us. Let us sing his songs as his legacy to us, and remember his teachings. Let us give tzedakah to continue his teachings, his song. Reb Zeller was due to teach Meditation at Elat Chayyim in the next days. (Rabbi David Cooper will take his class and they can use the tzedakah at the new location.)

It did not matter that I listened to Reb David's tapes for hours on end, especially on long trips, and insisted that strangers on the street listen to them, emes, and bought them for presents (even for rabbis), and played them on a Jewish radio program (that I 'guest hosted'), and sang them every chance I got; With every concert I would attend, I was in Heaven that we were invited to sing along with Reb David. His music got me through mamash, tough times (with a sick husband, z'l).

Can you hear Reb Dovid singing?: "Ruach, Rebono Shel Olam, In Your Light Do I See Light, Brothers and Friends, Narrow Bridge, For With You Is the Source of Life, Shomreini, Listen To My Heart's Song, 'Tis The Gift To Be Simple, Spirit Is Around Us Like a Rainbow 'Round The Sun, From You I Receive-To You I Give, You Are A Blessing Of The Universe, Love is The Only Power, Return Again, Sometimes It's Easy, It's a Joy To Get To Know You (listen to his website clip), This Too Shall Pass, Oh Go In Beauty, I Circle Around, and Why, Oh Why, Oh Why, Oh Why?"

Last week, my soul sister Ruthie Fogelman (living in the Old City), went to visit Reb Dovid in the hospital, and reported back to me, that when she mentioned my name, his face lit up. To know that I could bring any spark of light to my beloved rabbi, comforts me. Reb Dovid revealed those Sparks! I had let him know that according to his teachings and request, I had prayed MiSheberach for him (Rafael Dovid ben Leonora), "NOT with wrinkled forehead" * but with golden Light streaming to him.

With conscious awareness, Reb Dovid has transitioned to a far greater place to do his work, and I hope to glow in all the light that he has helped to create. I recall a few years back, when detouring from the airport, he placed his healing hands on the heart of my ailing husband Marcel, z'l. It was important for him to do that for me. Several months ago, Reb Dovid, although travelling, responded to my request to assist a friend in need of help for his heart.

I see Reb Dovid with his love, his chesed, mamash compassion, insight, humor, wisdom, gentle soul in the Sephirot of Hod and Tiferet, here in Los Angeles at B'nai Horin's home in Carole's garden or Rabbi Stan Levy's Shabbat table, at the Ritchie's LA home, Metivta, the LA Happy Minyan, Sarah's Tent, at his mother's, z'l, Jungian Institute, in Vallyermo at retreats with Makom Ohr Shalom, at Jerusalem's Yakar, and in Liberty Park, Israel with his family, wearing his happy tie dyed t-shirt (see photo), a garment I never saw him wear at his concerts.

Reb Dovid loved little stickers of colorful hands, reminding him on his wrist watch that it is hand of G*d's time. After I gave him the first sticker in an Israel park, I always supplied him with those hand stickers whenever he would call and ask for them; enough for him also to share. When Reb Zeller needed to really know what time he had to be somewhere on time in LA, he would telephone me. He knew that I would know ... I had done lots of PR for my beloved rebbe.

My memories are endless, as is my love for my Reb Dovid. He always said to me, "Call me David." I always called him "Reb Zeller", as I did last year at his mother, Lore's, z'l funeral. I am deeply grateful that she did not have to go to her son's funeral. I am so grateful that his family had chevra write personal stories about Reb Dovid, following the book that he had just written on his meeting special people in his life-time. If you would like to read a copy of what I wrote for the family book created last year celebrating his 60th birthday, let me know. Better yet, read the whole book, “The Story of a Soul – Meetings with a Remarkable Person". Click on Reb Zeller's website link to read the book written by his chevra.

Let me know if you would like an e-photo of Reb Zeller. The Divine One had mamash, guided me in Light (Hashgacha Pratit) to Rabbi Zeller, and I am grateful that I listened and have my Jewish Renewal community because of him. Thank you, Reb Zeller for this, and for my first Jewish meditation being inside of the letter "koof". You took me to places I had never dreamed of going. I recall that you said, "An unexplored dream is like an unopened letter."

Feminist that I am, you explained to me that in prayer, the alienating to me, title "'Master', could be like a master craftsman", and I could respectfully understand and accept that image. I used your chant, "Rebbono Shel Olam", Master of the Universe, whenever I needed shalom and serenity, and to be heard.

Rabbi David Zeller inspired me, and awakened in me through chant and mysticism, RUACH / spirit, and the Compassionate One, and I am eternally grateful to him.

May Reb Dovid's teachings and songs that he sang to us from his teachers and his heart, continue to be a blesSing, a bridge / gesher between our Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, and Heaven and Earth for revealing Divinity to us within Judaism, just as Reb Dovid desired for us.

One love, my sympathy, shalom and abundant blesSings of health, Ruach, and joy to you,
JOY Krauthammer

"Serve G*d With Joy"

Reb Dovid Zeller
© Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller and Reb Stan Levy, B'nai Horin, LA
© Joy Krauthammer
Reb David Zeller and Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller and Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield, Jerusalem
(both of blessed memory, z"l)
© Joy Krauthammer

Rabbis David Zeller, Judith HaLevy (Sarah's Tent & Malibu JC&S), David A. Cooper
© Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller
May 2, 2000 Israel Independence Day, Liberty Park, Jerusalem
© Joy Krauthammer

Reb David Zeller

Reb Shlomo Carlebach, Reb David Zeller, 
Ben Zion Lehrer (guitar, left of Shlomo) Reb Natan Rothstein (keyboard), Shoshana Shoshana (djembe drum)
 ©  Joy Krauthammer   July 1992, Israel Center, Jerusalem

 What we can do for others in Reb Dovid's zechut / merit, is what he asked us to do for him:

* The Healing of Positive Prayer by Reb Dovid Zeller, z'tl
"Please be sure your prayers and visualizations are positive. Do not focus on the disease with your wrinkled forehead and tightly closed eyes. Dance and sing for joy with full healing in your mind, heart and soul.

When people came to the Baal Shem Tov for healing, he would not focus on the sick individual. He regarded the person as a sign that the Shechina, HaShem's own Mystical Feminine Dimension, was out of harmony (in disease). He would pray for the healing of the Shechina, and the healing would come down into the world and restore the health of the ailing individuals."

"... And the way to sing the song of joy is by seeking the good in all people, especially in our selves. Each good point is one more note in the song of life."  - Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Cassette Tape Review: LET GO by DAVID ZELLER
by Joy Krauthammer, ARTS Editor, Jewish Calendar Magazine 1991

Immediately I was struck with the maternal sketch of  Rabbi David Zeller's "LET GO" on the cassette tape cover, knowing the tape then had to be nurturing. The words are in Hebrew, but for me, transcend language barriers. The tape insert informs us in English of the translation and meaning of each song.

Accompanying himself on guitar, Rabbi David Zeller sings the nigunim / wordless melodies of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and Shlomo Carlebach (who ordained Zeller), as well as his own. Included are Rebono Shel Olam, Shuvi Nafshi, Ki Le'Shu'atcha, B'Shem HaShem and Sabeinu.

I first experienced David Zeller at a house concert (at the Ritchie's home) and allowed myself to be gently drawn into the meditational sound of his healing voice. Since my 'sixties' days and dancing bare foot with flowers in my hair in Central Park with the Hari Krishnas, I have not chanted mantras. I have now opened up to a special sound which is available at all times in my home and car with the help of a playback machine. I use this tape for relaxation, stress reduction, and for feeling closer to G*d. Sometimes I just listen, and sometimes I sing along and feel as if I can help bring the world closer. The song sounds holy. Zeller teaches psychologically and spiritually through meditations, stories and songs. To order any of his many glorious tapes, call...

Now, two decades later, open and write to his website, www.davidzeller.org
May the memory of Reb Dovid Zeller be for a blesSing.

photos by © Joy Krauthammer
(Photographer-in-Residence and Historian, LA Jewish Renewal)
~ ~ ~ 

Letter to Reb Zeller's widow

Dear Hannah Sara,

Here is a photo I took of Reb David Zeller, z'l, 1/12/97, when he taught, "Entering the Gates of Holiness."

Especially because May 25th nears, and Reb Zeller's, zt'l, first yahrzeit is 8 Sivan, coming soon, even more strongly do I think of my beloved rebbe than I have each day for almost twelve months. When the 11th Hebrew month just passed last week, I was conscious of your "official mourning" time ending. Athough we don't know each other, we met for a moment in a park (Jerusalem's Liberty?) years ago, and maybe I can even find a photo of that, but I have held you in my heart, my lev. I mourned for your loss alongside of you.

My official mourning time for my husband, Marcel, z'l, ended 16 months ago.

"Mah Tovu", a story I wrote during my deep grieving is on this link:

My story "Light" regarding my mourning, is also on The Jewish Woman site http://www.chabad.org/search/results.asp?scope=313386&searchword=joy+krauthammer

This week during the Omer counting we are in HOD. Reb David, z'l, lived in Hod, in humility, modesty, splendor, thanksgiving. Reb Dovid, of blessed memory, lived in all the Sephirot. Reb David exemplified, personified, illustrated--chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod, yesod, malchut. We all learned these ways from this master of teaching and understanding and compassion. I visualize where he sat teaching each time in Los Angeles, California. His presence, so humble, yet powerful and joyous.

Lag B'Omer, the letter Lamed, the letter for heart. Heart is the space in our universe which Reb Zeller held and brought us all to that space. I gave to my daughter, Aviva, a photo of Reb Zeller touching my husband's, z'l, heart.

Number 8, all spirituality, a place of covenant, is above physicality. If the 8th Sephirah symbolizes physical form, and Spirit manifests in our world through form, this is the form in which Reb Zeller shared his self as he emulated the attributes of Hashem. (I have to keep changing my grammatical tense to past after I keep writing Reb David in the present.) I believe the form of Reb Zeller's vessel became too constricting for the beautiful, glorious, joyous singing energy celebrating the Divine One which was so expansive and expressive and loving. His neshamah needed to fill more greatly-- as gentle as it was, the universe than jets would allow. With each plane Reb Zeller carried his chevre to many awakened conscious planes. Reb Zeller brought together the Jewish worlds of Orthodoxy and Renewal, as we sat learning and feeling.

As a feminist, when I had problems with "Master of the World" / Rebbono shel Olam, Reb Dovid, whom I always called "Rabbi Zeller", even when he encouraged in modesty-- only "David", my teacher, my guide, my beloved first and #1 rebbe, and I have tears writing these last words, explained to me that a "craftsman is a master of his trade" and is thus called "Master." As a craftswoman myself, I understood this teaching from Reb Zeller, and could accept and use it, and still I share his teaching in his name, a legacy.

Because you are in Israel, Holy Land, I can do this counting as if I am present, which I am in spirit. Reb Zeller taught us to Count the Omer.

Tonight, Thursday evening, May 22, we count thirty three days, which is four weeks and five days of the Omer.  Day 33 - Hod sh b' Hod: Humility in Humility, Splendor of Splendor, and Thankfullness.

On this day, I choose to write to you, dear Hannah Sara, loving wife of my Rabbi Zeller.

(In my mailed letter) I include an Omer counting poem from my friend, Gloria Krasno in Milwaukee, WI. She most likely also knew Reb Zeller. The Omer poem I attach is one where I can envision Reb Zeller dancing in his heart and soul. As I served as percussionist when Reb Zeller came to LA, I especially like this Omer poem as Reb Zeller had us in our hearts and voice, sing and dance. I hold "David" in my heart and I send my love to you, Hannah Sara.

I was still in mourning for my husband who had only died a year earlier, so I did not write directly to you, but I did write to Manya, Mordechai, all your children, and chevre and shared my love in Reb David's website. The year before I had shared my love in his book that you created for your loved one.

Based on my sadness from your loss which we all share, I designed a memorial card, MEMORY FLAME. As soon as Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi shared the saddest news with us chevre who were with him at Isabella Freedman Center last year on Shavuot, I realized I needed to have this card for those of us in need. In the center of the Ohr, flame painting I made following a meditation on the Holy Temple, is a Mogen Dovid shaped lotus flower. I thought Reb Dovid would appreciate this flower from his India days. Do you see inside the other blue Mogen Dovid, is a heart?

I attach below a photo of my Memory Flame card.

The Yiskor teaching was given to us on Shavuot by Reb Zalman. "In memory of loved ones", in each direction, to and from your loved one, z'l, giving and receiving, "feel Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion and Love." Hold your beloved's hand in your hand.

In locations where candles may not be lit for safety reasons, and in ritual, I and others have used the little Memorial Flame card with my Ohr, flame painting. In all these colors of Ohr "do I see the light" of Reb Zeller.

Maybe you now have the circular double-sided engraved, bronze medallion pendant that I gave to Reb Zeller with these words in Hebrew and English, "In Your Light Do We See Light" (surrounding a Menorah) that he loved to teach and sing. At the Jung Institute Reb Zeller saw it on my neck, liked it, and I immediately removed it and gifted it to him, feeling so good that I could give my Rebbe something he appreciated. On the other side of the pendant, surrounding a Tree of Life, is written, "The Compassionate One Seeks the Heart..."

On Lag B'Omer there is a joyous gathering of mystics. I know that on this day, and now in Jerusalem, Reb Dovid's soul is singing in holy choir with all other angel mystics.

May David's soul in Sh'mayim / Heaven continue to be blessed as he blesses us all. His memory is for a blesSing.

Hannah Sara, may you and your children and chevre be blessed to continue to find comfort in your sweetest memories of David..

BlesSings of compassion, health, harmony, love and joy to you,


I have attached some of my photos to share with you. The photo on page 88 of Kol Chevre, I took of Reb Zeller in 1997.

Here is a photo of Reb Zeller playing at the Happy Minyan, LA, and I am accompanying him.

Reb David Zeller and Joy Krauthammer

Poem below from: Gloria Krasnow krasnosita@sbcglobal.net Gloria is preparing her book on Sephirot.
Day 31 Tiferet-Hod. (I will include when I receive permission to reprint.)


Dear Chevra,

My condolences to us all in so many countries that Reb David Zeller, z'tl travelled.

Reb Dovid was so humble, that I thought he came only to us in Los Angeles... The most wonderful people, now dear friends, would come and listen and learn from Rabbi Zeller.

May Reb Dovid Zeller’s family, wife, Hannah Sarah, children, and sister, be comforted by the Compassionate One, among all mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim. May Reb Dovid's loved ones, and chevra find the strength, given by the Holy One, to endure these difficult, sad, heavy, mourning days. With the brokenness in your hearts, may the Divine One have easy entry to help heal your heart.

May Reb Dovid’s sweet, gentle neshama soar and have an easy and sweet aliyah, ascending and expanding to a very high place awaiting him in Sh’mayim / heaven and G*d’s Greatness. May his soul find complete peaceful rest and niggunim to nourish him where the veils of the universe are no longer, with the Master of the Universe / Rebbono Shel Olam. May Reb Dovid be welcomed by the angels, whom he mirrored, and by his holy teachers, Shlomo, z'l, Rebbe Nachman and the Ba'al Shem Tov. I see Reb Dovid as a messenger from us, lining the womb of the heavens with vibrational sweetness for future birthings from below.

Ner Hashem Nishmat Ha’Adam.” The light of the Compassionate One is the soul of the human being. "In Your Light Do I see Light." I even wore a t-shirt with this quote because of your song.

Reb Dovid exemplified the light of the Source of All BlesSings. He shined, bringing it all down to us to receive and to shine light back into the universe. Rebono Shel Olam must have mamash needed a powerful messenger of light, that at Mount Sinai Hashem kissed and took back Reb Dovid's neshama to shine from a higher place. May Reb Dovid's legacy of his spiritual teachings, stories, goodness, compassion, sweetness, and his angelic music bring solace to us all and fill our hearts as we send love to Reb Dovid, z'tl as his soul's journeys continue higher and higher.

Reb Dovid, as you know, I was Divinely guided to you, and you were my first gevaldt rebbe, bringing me to chevra that I love. You taught me to "Return to the Land of my Soul", and with some "happies". You and your song helped me to survive when "Sometimes it's not so easy." I am grateful to you. "I listen to my heart's song", and you are in my heart.

You don't need a "watch on your wrist" any longer. You are always on G*d's time. "Oh, Go In Beauty, You Are A BlesSing of the Universe."

I love you.
Joy Krauthammer
Friday 22nd of June 2007

Chevra, I wish that I could be with you in the Holy Land at the Shloshim. Bring my love, my lev with you. My heart is so heavy.
~  ~ ~

THE STORY OF A SOUL: Reb David Zeller

Reb Dovid Zeller
© Joy Krauthammer 1992


Reprinted from the book written by Reb Dovid's chevra and compiled and lovingly published by his family in honor of Reb Zeller's 60th birthday. (Just before Dovid Zeller became ill with a rare blood disease.)

Yom Huledet Sameach! 
HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY  Reb Dovid

by Joy Krauthammer

REB DOVID ZELLER, on the occasion of your 60th birthday, MAZAL TOV

Quoting from my University of Judaism (now AJU) MBA 1994 thesis (with a chapter on "Spirituality"),

"Thank you to my dear Jerusalem Rabbi David Zeller. It was through your Kabbalah teaching and music in Rabbi Joshua and Liliane Ritchie’s # 613 home that I first received Hashem’s Light so brightly. It is through you that I was brought to my Los Angeles Rabbi Stan Levy and B’nai Horin, and all of my greater beloved spiritual Renewal community."

Was that first meeting with you, 1990? I found a flyer then, maybe at the UJ, maybe posted by another UJ student Lolly S. writing of an evening event at a street numbered 613. Knowing no one, but with this number in hand, I drove over the hill to Los Angeles from Northridge, the San Fernando Valley, to be Divinely guided / Hashgachah Pratit, in meeting you, Reb David Zeller.

I recall coming to the Ritchie’s home for that first time of many, and noticed the auras surrounding Liliane’s paintings. (On a later visit when I went to hear Reb Shlomo Carlebach zt"l, the entire room was bathed in golden Light and it was awesomely only the Light which was visible.)

I had traveled meditationally inside of a crystal with a teacher, but you--Reb Dovid, offered a Kabbalistic meditation with the Hebrew letter "Koof." I remember sliding down the form of the Koof. You probably offered the following: "Koof of the Hebrew Alef-Bet. First see it as a pictograph of shape and symbol; then as a letter and the shapes of letters within the letter; the name of the letter, and the letters that spell the name; the meaning of the name; its number, and so much more ."

Life was not the same for me any longer. My life became deeply SPIRITUAL. My consciousness shifted. Feminism had first tuned me in to my needs. In you, I had met my first Rebbe and who remains my #1 Rebbe. If you have groupies, I am one. I had met G*d not long before that. You were my next step in my awakening spiritual journey along the path to the Tree of Life, which led me to "who, what and where". I am today on a joyous journey and that is good. I have travelled far from the Koof into the whole Alef Bet and I can "Return Again."

Reb Dovid Zeller, Joy Krauthammer and (now Rabbi) Shlomo Katz, 
accompanying on drums
© Darlene Rose 1997, Happy Minyan, Malavah Malkah
After # 613, I was Divinely guided by my "Jewish Calendar Magazine" publisher, David Epstein, who advised me to call Yael Taubman, whom I did not yet know, and who was in LA, readying for her move to Jerusalem. Yael was due to be at Rabbi Stan Levy’s home for a Shabbaton with, yes, YOU. But Yael was ill and invited me to take her seat at Reb Stan’s table where my neshama is still nourished today. I knew no one in this community. I became a member immediately without being asked. I was in my makom. Even last Shabbat for Shavuot, 16 years later, I davvened with many of the very same spiritual seekers who were there on my first night in Renewal. I have since joined every Renewal shul in LA encouraging them to affiliate with Aleph if they were not already. (At one point of my surging soul, I was simultaneously a member of ten shuls from Renewal to Orthodox, and yes, a founding member of the Happy Minyan, as well as Ohr HaTorah with Rabbi Mordecai Finley.)

I met Yael Taubman's husband Micha one Shabbat in a Yamin Moshe shul and he walked me to his home to meet Yael. I saw two crystals on a table and I asked permission to touch them. Yael responded that, "There had been a third crystal that I had found on Mt. Sinai, but was just taken to a shul in Los Angeles." Amazingly, that third crystal was the one brought the week before by Shira Solomon to Los Angeles to my very own B'nai Horin to be used as the pointer in our Torah's silver yad (and handcrafted by Eva Nathanson). (On this very day today, Shira is in an LA hospital with pain following this last week's angiogplasty and stent insertion to her heart. May the light of our crystal help heal Shira.)

From you, Reb Dovid, I immediately met Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Eve Ilsen at B’nai Horin’s Simchat Torah and continued to learn from him locally at Makom Ohr Shalom and Aleph sponsored retreats. Reb Zalman mid-wifed me during my husband Marcel’s zt"l recent transition in January 2006 and with guidance from Rabbi Stan for which I am grateful. Following that Simchat Torah, in Jerusalem I was Divinely guided and I met my beloved Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt"l, and soon became Shlomo's percussionist, disciple, and shlepper and co-agent here in Los Angeles. I met Collette, zt"l, in Jerusalem. In LA I met Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man of (meditative) Metivta, and later Rabbi Judith HaLevy and became a founding member of my beloved Sarah’s Tent, and joined other teachers (currently Reb Toba August of Lev Eisha) in ecstatic communities in which to study, learn, play, pray, create, perform, transform, and transmit. All of these magical, mystical experiences have enlivened my heart, ah, all 4 Worlds.

From there across the country I learned from all Renewal teachers; Kallahs and Elat Chayyims, and National Havurah Institutes, and Ruach Ha Aretz'. And yes, I too have taught from the fire where my passions have been lit. Reb Zalman taught us to teach whatever "little" we have learned. I have shared teachings gleaned from you, On Four Worlds, and Sephirot. All this birthed from my being in your light, Reb Zeller.

A few years later, I went to Yakar, to be with Rabbi Zeller during Reb Shlomo’s zt"l first yahrzeit. It was Simchat Torah and for the first tiime I danced in the street with Yakar's Torah. My sweet spiritual sister in the Old City, Ruthie Fogelman, brought me to Yakar, your organization, and I learned for the first time with Mimi Feigelson (and others) who thankfully the last few years is in Los Angeles at my alma matar.

Quoting from the Jewish Calendar Magazine (JCM) as Arts Editor from my Journey Reflections, July 1992 where I was living in Mishkenot Sha’ananim (Jerusalem’s artists’ guest house in Yemin Moshe ) and the Moriah Hotel:

"The hotel, is walking distance to the Jewish Quarter and visible from my window, where after my morning classes at Hebrew University, I would find the finest teachers with whom to study, such as Tzipora Heller, sharing her insights about women in the Bible, and Rabbi David Zeller teaching mysticism and meditation through song."

In the evenings I would go to the Israel Center, listen to Reb Shlomo and Reb Zeller together and watch Reb Zeller late into the night, walking and wheeling home his baby in the baby carriage. (I became a Rebbetzin Heller groupie too when she visited LA.)

Another article I wrote on My Journey, "As Rabbi David Zeller’s song goes, ‘The whole world is just a narrow bridge.'" I wrote about my trip to Thailand’s synagogues in 1991. Beshert of course, I got to the shuls because I played Reb Zeller’s tape to a stranger in a restaurant local to my home. I made the stranger come to my car and listen to "Brothers (and Sisters0 and Friends". He connected me to the people in Bangkok.

October 1991's JCM's issue, I find my Cassette Tape Review: LET GO by David Zeller.

Immediately I was struck with the maternal sketch by Reb Zeller's wife of Let GO on the cassette tape cover, knowing the tape then had to be nurturing. The words are in Hebrew, but for me transcend language barriers..." "...I first experienced David Zeller at a house concert and allowed myself to be drawn gently into the meditational sound of his healing voice. Since my "sixties" days and dancing in Central Park in Strawberry Fields with the Hari Krishnas, I have not chanted mantras. I have now opened up to a special sound which is available at all times in my home and car with the help of a playback machine. I use this tape for relaxation, tension reduction and for feeling closer to G*D. Sometimes I just listen, and sometimes, I sing along and feel as if I can help bring the world closer. Zeller teaches-psychologically and spiritually-through meditations, stories and songs....
by Joy Krauthammer

When I was feeling lost in Italy in 1992 after my luggage filled with my Israel's photos and memoirs disappeared, I sat in the women's upper chambers of a shul in Florence crying and chanted "Rebonno Shel Olam". I had learned this prayer from Reb Zeller and it comforted me; and the police could not help. Days later the luggage reappeared. Feeling better and In some other Italian town where I was visiting, a woman unknown to me came to me and asked, "What was the matter? I say you crying in the shul."

Whenever I would drive on the I-5, 7-12 hours up Northern California to a Jewish Renewal spiritual retreat and then return back from a stay at Esalen, it was Reb Zeller that I would listen to over and over and over in the car. (I played repeatedely also Shlomo, Hannah Tiferet Siegel and Leonard Cohen for all those hours.) When I am asked to lead a niggun, I offer to the community, "Ruach". I also sing Reb Zeller’s rendition of Shlomo’s song, "Return Again." Even now, with my husband’s recent death, I sing this to myself. I sing again, "Listen, listen, listen to my heart’s song..." Reb Zeller’s music makes a huge impact on my heart, my tiferet, my lev, and my harmony. I can chant " Shalom" forever.

When I was a guest host with Cantor Michael Russ on his LA’s "L’Chayim" NPR-KCSN radio program, I would play Rabbi Zeller’s music. He always let us know that we could call him "David." I would not but I loved sharing his music with the world.

From your world, I loved listening to a tape of you-Reb Zeller and rabbis Schachter-Shalomi and Carlebach on Jewish Mysticism at the 7th International Transpersonal Conference, February 1982 in Bombay, India.

Reb David Zeller and Joy Krauthammer
when it was not raining at retreat in Vallyermo
I loved having an opportunity to share with Reb Zeller. One Shabbaton outside LA at the mostly vegetarian retreat center, St. Andrews Priory in Vallyermo, it was raining and I was happy to give over my disposable raincoat and umbrella. I was thrilled that I was chosen to bring snacks to the rabbi’s room up the hill. I receive in my mind, heart and soul, so much from my #1 Rabbi and I am happy when I can do something for him.

In a letter to friends dated November 1992, telling of my husband Marcel’s z"l condition, I wrote, "On his last short trip to LA, Reb Dovid Zeller came to visit my husband, Marcel, Menachem Elimelech ben Tova Mateal, during his cancer treatments. Rabbi Zeller was my first rabbi of Light. I was led to him by Divine Providence. "In Your Light do I see Light." I felt that Reb Zeller with his prayers in the Holy Land kept Marcel’s health in the "temple of his heart."

My husband was being discharged from Cedars-Sinai Hospital and Reb Zeller who had been making prayers for my husband for years, agreed to meet us in Pico-Robertson--the ‘Hood’, not far from his mother's home and just before leaving for the airport. Reb Zeller put his hands on Marcel’s heart and I took a photo of them together. It meant alot to me. We met at our favorite Pico-Kosher Deli which we had used since Marcel and I were married November 10, 1974. I felt badly because I had not thought about Reb Zeller being a vegetarian. (Was that the trip where I managed to have friends, the Lesters, loan their car to Reb Zeller and they did not even know him?)

I see another JCM story dated 7/20/02 speaking about my husband.

How does Rabbi David Zeller’s song go about the wrinkle on the face? "I used to laugh a lot; sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so easy. Everybody’s got to have ‘em some happies. Sometimes I feel like I can’t go on..." He’s coming to town beginning of August. When he forgets where he’s supposed to be for a concert he calls me even though he knows that I probably can’t make it (while caregiving). I love my rabbi and he knows it. Reb Zeller was my very first rabbi over a decade ago. I used to hang with him while he pushed his baby carriage and with dear Reb Shlomo zt"l, walking them home at 3 AM after a concert in our Holy Land, Jerusalem. Do you love your rabbi? Let’s pray for our teachers to have safe travels and be well.

I sang Reb Zeller's songs to stay balanced during what were our 18 years filled with continual cancer medical crises. "I circle around." Reb Dovid's songs are supportive, healing, filled with energy and peacefulness. "It’s a joy to get to know you." Is that the song on Reb Zeller’s web site where I can see him strumming in a video on his guitar? I love looking and listening even for a moment. It makes me feel good.

Knowing that Reb Zeller was coming to town, I would call and write to everyone. I would try to help him with possibilities of gigs. I used to always learn with him when he was at his dear mother’s filled to capacity, Jung Institute library on Pico. (Not long ago, Mrs. Zeller moved out of town to be with her daughter.) Once when entering the library to sing and to teach, Reb Zeller saw a circular medallion on my neck which I had purchased at a Kallah. Inscribed are the words, "In Your Light Do We See Light" and the Menorah and on the reverse side, "The Compassionate One Seeks the Heart" and the Sephirotic Tree of Life. I was so happy that Reb Zeller liked it, that I immediately removed it and gave it to him wanting him to have a gift from me, something he liked and insisted on him receiving the gift. I now wear, especially for Parsha BaHa'olotecha, a t-shirt with the same Hebrew words, and a menorah design.

Another very tiny gift that I gave to Reb Zeller was a sticker of a blue hand. I was visiting Jerusalem and in a park for a celebration and he was there wearing a happy hippy tie dye shirt, and with his family, so that I got to meet his dear wife. I felt the little sticker represented the hand of G*d. Reb Zeller allowed me to place one on the band of his watch, as a symbol to me as G*d's hands on his clock. In LA a year or so later, Reb Zeller related a funny story to me about how he had just met a follower (aka groupie) in Boston. The man told Reb Zeller that he had curiously witnessed in a park in Jerusalem someone (me) putting a sticker on his watch. Next time Reb Zeller came to town I made sure to find in a store a whole package of little colorful hand stickers so that he too could share them on his travels. Timing was perfect as his watch sticker was wearing out. They are like little "blessings of G*d resting upon you."

Reb David Zeller and Reb Stan Levy
B'nai Horin in Carole Foley's home
©  Joy Krauthammer 
I loved taking pictures of Reb Zeller and Rabbi Stan Levy whenever he came to B’nai Horin. I loved it when I could accompany Reb Zeller’s singing and guitar on my soulful Djembe drum at the Happy Minyan, at Beth Jacob, or at Metivta or...

I bought all of Reb Zeller’s song tapes and meditation sets. I would give extras as gifts. One of my favorites tapes is Path of the Heart. I should have been listening during the last year while my late husband was struggling to stay alive. My machines were broken.

A cute story that I recall is when Rabbi Zeller was coming to town and to the San Fernando Valley for a concert. I invited a group of friends to come that evening to a shul. We were the very first ones to arrive and saved the whole front row for ourselves, of course. A single man walked in and wanted a little of the pew for himself. No way, there is a whole shul where he could sit. Rick Sklar went on to share with us that Rabbi Zeller had stayed at his, Rick’s home, in Santa Barbara, 90 miles away. Where ever Rick wanted to sit in the front row was now his. We have been good friends ever since. (Rick drove to LA for Marcel’s funeral.) Funny thing that in the car going home, one of the gals in the group in the pew asked me who my long time old friend was as she had never met him before. "New friend', I declared, "never knew him before." Reb Zeller brought our friendship together, "like the spirit together, like a rainbow ‘round the sun." "Love, love, our love, watch our circle grow" and we will share the temple pews.

"Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free. To come round where we ought to be ... We’ll be in the Valley of love and delight. To bow and bend, turning we come round right...." I believe that Rabbi David Zeller’s songs are bringing Moshiach sooner, and all of us closer. Reb Dovid, "You are a blessing of the universe." L'Dor V'Dor.

It is a blessing also that my daughter, Aviva, has received your light, and she sings beautifully. She sang to her father, may he rest in peace, while he was on life-support in the ICUs. Aviva received blessings for her chuppah twelve months ago from my dear rabbis Stan Levy and Judith HaLevy. We "Circle Around...".

I could keep writing about the impact of Reb Zeller’s neshama on me, but it would be another Jewish thesis.

I love you. Happy 60 th birthday.

With blessings for shalom, health and joy,

Joy Krauthammer

* * *

May The Source of All Blessings, shower you with a shefa of sweetness, song, love, Torah and health and joy especially on the occasion of your 60th birthday.

You have shared your soulful gifts with us all these years, particularly your gift of song, which I continue to treasure and appreciate with all my heart. I bless you that all the gifts of goodness which you have bestowed upon us seek to return to you and for you to feel the love in receiving that you have shared in giving from your Four Worlds.

I bless you with all levels of joy Gila, Rena, Simcha, Sasoon, Deetza, Chedva.

Mazal tov!

May you look forward to a good and blessed year.

Ad meah v'esrim. May you live until one hundred and twenty.
Harachaman hu y'chadesh aleinu et hashanah hazot l'tovah u'livrakhah.

May the Merciful One renew this year for goodness and for a blessing.

With lots of light, love, and

June 2006

Reb Dovid Zeller loved to sing RETURN AGAIN.
I wrote out the words he sang with his teaching.
On this his 5th yahrzeit 2012, I add the ChArt page. - Joy Krauthammer ©

Return Again
ChArt Art by Joy Krauthammer ©

On this 6th Yahrzeit 5773 of dear Reb Zeller, I add that his resting place is Kfar Etzion Cemetary.

"Return Again, Return again, 
Return to the land of your soul. 
Return to who you are.
Return to what you are.
Return to where you are.
Born and reborn again."

- melody, Reb Shlomo Carlebach

"Increasing our G*d consciousness is a process of constant Returning, each time coming out, 
being reborn closer to the essence of what we are, and who we are, and what makes us, and moves through us. 
The circles and levels unite in a multi-dimensional spiral." - Rabbi David Zeller

 I recall with love, the teachings and songs blesSings of dear Reb David Zeller, z"l, and Reb Shlomo Carlebach, z"l.

Reb Zeller's yahrzeit 7 Sivan, is during Shavuot. 
Counting the Omer ends at Shavuot, and I recall the very sad news delivered Shavuot morning of Reb Zeller's death. 
Personally, celebrating Shavuot that morning, I was with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi at Isabella Freedman Center when in grief, he informed us all that Reb Zeller Returned Again to the Holy One.
~ ~ ~ 


Serve G*d With Joy

"Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha"
© Joy Krauthammer