In tribute to Rabbi David Montag, 68, spiritual scientist, Reb Carlebach's L.A. "Ohr Chadash" founder, grandfather, and teacher

Rabbi David Montague, Professor of Physics most recently at East L.A. College, died of a massive coronary at his home north of Pasadena on Thursday, 20th March 2008, the Jewish holiday of Purim. He died one month short of his 69th birthday.

A funeral service was held in Los Angeles on Sunday, 23 March. Burial followed at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Commerce, California.

Rabbi Montag co-founded the L.A. congregation, Ohr Chadash, with Reb Carlebach who granted him smicha, along with Rav Wasserman. Ohr Chadash was the predecessor havurah to today's Happy Minyan. Rabbi Montag served as Reb Carlebach's emissary in Los Angeles. He possessed a thorough knowledge of the unseen universe, teaching college-level physics at several colleges in L.A. (most recently East L.A. College) and teaching Kaballah avocationally. He was knowledgable in many areas of science and technology - he was deeply involved in the digital media revolution, reporting from the annual Consumer Electronics Show, but he shunned mobile phones out of concern about their carcinogenic properties. Ironically, at the time of his heart attack at home, he was not able to make it to a landline to dial 911.

Rabbi Montag has passed on his legacy to many former college students. His family survivors include his first-wife, Bracha and daughter, Esther, now of Montpellier, Idaho; his sons Michael of Arcata, California (Humboldt County) and Daniel of Los Angeles. David's second wife of 16 years, Olga Volozova (whose wedding Reb Carlebach officiated), and David's step-son, Daniel, of Hollywood.

Shiva for the late Professor Rabbi David Moshe Montag is being observed through Friday at Daniel Montag's apartment in L.A.: 137 1/2 S. Sycamore (one block east of LaBrea, between 1st & 2nd Streets) Shacharit 7:00am; Mincha 6:30pm. May his family and friends be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Express your feelings, pay tribute to Rabbi David Montag, share your grief, and offer condolences to the family through the Comment capability below. Please indicate if you have photos you'd like to have posted at http://www.davidmontag.com/ - such as this one filmed by Olga 16 years ago.

28 comments:

Shulamit said...

David Montag had one of the most significant impacts on my life of any person. I was born of parents who had left their religions to the side, a Jewish father M.D. and a Cuban Catholic mother. They told us three children we could choose our own religions when we were grown. I took this very seriously and spent a major part of my life learning and being everything from a Hindu to an evangelical. I earned a BA in Biblical Studies and was half way through an MA in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary when discovered aish ha Torah and I met David Montag at a Westwood Kehilla conference in 1989. David invited me and my young children to spend Shabbat on Spaulding. A whole new world opened up before my eyes. David introduced me to the beauty, joy and wonder of Shabbos. His influence set me on the path to an orthodox conversion through the Beit Din of Los Angeles. I will be forever grateful to David Montag for the indescribable gift of awakening my Jewish soul.

Bill Burnett said...

Dovid (as he was sometimes called--although he didn't call himself that much) was a delightful man with whom the Burnett family spent many a wonderful Shabbat as well as too many other occasions to count. David was a deeply devout, observant Jew, an emissary of the great Reb Shlomo Carlebach. He was a wonderful teacher and spiritual guide. He was also a funny, fun, fascinated, fascinating man, an ecstatic who reveled in the world and always made wherever he was more joyful and more meaningful. He was a physicist AND a meta-physicist, who somehow managed to actually live a life of magical realism. I cannot exaggerate how meaningful he was in my life. He introduced me to not just a path but an entire network of paths to follow. It will be harder to find them and follow them without him here. Somewhere, on the other side of the veil, they are celebrating the arrival of a truly unique soul, while back on this side we must come to terms with no longer having that soul around to brighten our lives. We will miss him very much.

Dinah Berland said...

I will long remember Rabbi David Montag's wonderful teaching and dialogue with Rabbi Ivan Ickovitz on "God and the Big Bang" at Metivta. Their discussion helped nourish my love of the relationship between physics and Kabbalah -- a relationship that David could articulate with such enthusiasm. May he now have the unbounded joy of knowing all there is to know in the World to Come.

Judith Samuel said...

David was such a special person! I knew him from the days when he, Jacob (don't recall his surname),Shana Lax, and I met weekly to study Torah. I saw him over the years at various Jewish events and most recently at a beautiful Metivta dinner at Malibu.
I always welcomed the opportunity of hearing what he had to say and his open, beautiful mind and spirit. He usually joked with me when I saw him and told me that he had spent some time with Albert Einstein and would embarrass me in those days, as he announced that I was a relative of Einstein! His sense of wonder will always be remembered!

Rachel Brill said...

I was very much in love with David. I loved his kindness and his way of empathizing and listening to others. Everything was a miracle to him. He had the childlike wonder and spiritual depth of a real Rebbe. He was mind and heart. I feel a very deep emptiness in my heart where he was and I wish I could have one more conversation with him. I was honored to have known him.

Laurette ben Nathan said...

I knew David Montag from the early 70's through congregation members of the Sephardic Temple called "Magen David" now on Foothill but was then on Melrose. My late mother (of blessed memory) had called the shul before returning to the UK, this was shortly after I lost my father, and told the Shul to include me in their activies as she wanted me to "mix with Jewish people". So some of their Holy members (Rabbi) Avi Sutton, the Dwecks and other Holy People like the Richies, David Montag. I had conversations with David Montag at the Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's House of Love and Prayer on 9th Avenue in San Francisco. Both R'Shlomo and R'David helped me deal with the loss of my father and put they put in a spiritual light so that I could come to terms with it. In the 80's I worked on a film with R'David Montag called "Bird" directed by Clint Eastwood about the life of Charlie Parker. Rabbi David Montag played a Rabbi at a Jewish Outdoor wedding scene at Greystoke Lodge in BH. Yesterday at the Shiva his daughter Estee told me she was in the movie too. I went with the "Love-Life" group from Aish Hatorah on a hike through the Los Angeles Crest Forest along a stream to R'David Montag's cabin. And was amazed at the fact that he had a Torah and a shul in the woods. He gave a great devatorah. I have still have a photo with us all. Some of those people I saw yesterday. I would see him at the Carlebach Concerts, Bob Dylans concerts, Torah & Kabbalish Classes, many different shuls, simchas, parties, red-carpet movie screenings and he always had a good word of Torah to say and let you know what was going on in the Universe Astrologically speaking too! I will truly miss him. May he rest in peace! May we all take a leaf out of his book--he saw the world through different eyes.

Olga Volozova said...

David liked the line "it's amazing!"
He used it so often, about almost everything. He had a rare quality of being amazed as a child. This was contagious, you felt more childish being close to him.
More spontaneous, more curious and playful.
He could drive incredible distances to appear at a party or at a Jewish -theme related event. He had to be around people. He was enthusiastic about people, in general. His had fantastic energy. And also he possessed of an adventure spirit. David was a wonderful travel companion. He enjoyed exploring different cultures, religions, history, because his soul was very intuitive, he could catch the presence, the aura of a place, on a deep level.He could suddenly be in tears when talking or hearing about something that was Holy. He told me many times how he weeped at the Wall in Jerusalem. But I also saw him in tears when we visited the 1000-year old mosque in China and the Taoist monastery. He didn't know why he was crying. His soul felt so moved and elevated. I think David had a very ancient, rare, very large size soul, the one that remembered so much on this Earth. And that might be one of the keys to his controversial character. We all have souls that are larger than our understanding. But with David, it was in a greater proportion. His mind was sometimes confused by the size of his soul.This made him appear distracted and quirky.He could lose control of himself sometimes.
His charisma, his lovingness was of a thremendous, gigantic kind, and he felt often as a captive of his own charisma. It was a mission, a gift, he had to carry it around, to express it all the time. He felt lost sometimes because of that...overburdened by its size and power, but happy.
He liked big things. He drove b i g vans. He was saying, looking at the other little cars around: "I am big!"

When I married David, many people asked me why I did it, especially some who saw me as a "Russian invader". And I know the answer, it was in one line he said.
When he was taking me to movies and Kabbalah meetings and bringing flowers, finally I asked: " David, what is it about, what are your intentions, so called?" I thought he would say something like " I want to marry you" , but he said: "
I want to marry you and I want to be your magician, I want to make all your dreams come true here". He always wanted the best possible to happen and believed in it as a child.
He had very strong angels of protection around him. He could drive asleep, totally safe, he survived scary auto accidents.He used to win lottery and contests. He liked all kind of silly contests, because he knew he had an unexplainable ability to win. He was a "lucky" one. He was under God's protection, I totally believed it, witnessed it many times.


Our life was more difficult than it was expected, but whose isn't?
Everybody knows about his dark streaks and no use to hide them now. The thing is, David really changed recently, about last six months of his life. He looked purified, kind, seeking forgiveness. Another thing, David didn't know how to struggle with it. He knew that dark and light exist together.He felt that his mission was just to be as he was.
Not many people know that he had very traumatized childhood, though it sounds like a cliche, but he really went through two traumas which had been imprinted in his personality; his mother died when he was 12; his brother was shot by a police at a demonstration, where he went with his fellow Mexican students, the only one who was shot there..It left a portion of anger in David...
He was talking of it once at a family session, with my son and a therapist, trying to explain his strange abusive side, and all of us were crying, including the therapist.

We used to say to each other " Salakti Salakti Salakti" many times.
Without his darknesses and quirks , David won't be David. They are part of a puzzle that David was and is.They make him a storybook character and a poem.
David was a unique, one of a kind, creation. Wild and gentle, making stories and honest, shy and brave ...I miss him forever.

Olga Volozova

Sharon Asher said...

The scene:
David sitting at a table set with food and surrounded by new and old friends. Everyone is as happy as could be, laughter, Torah sharing, a wonderful warmth which makes everyone feel like there is nowhere better than right here, right now. However, he had asked me to make sure that he gets to his appt. on time.
"DAVID! IT'S TIME TO LEAVE. YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE! "
"OH YES, YOU'RE ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR ME, I NEED THAT, THANK YOU SO MUCH. THAT IS SHARON, I KNOW HER SINCE HIGH SCHOOL. (He loved to say that). I LIKE A STRONG WOMAN" (fyi: I met David and his family, living on Spaulding, when I was still in Rambam High School, over thirty years ago)
One hour later, "DAVID, YOU TOLD ME TO REMIND YOU AND NOW YOU ARE REALLY LATE."
"YOU'RE RIGHT! I NEED TO LEAVE"
...more merriment, even I had forgotten that he had something really important to do.......and that is how it would always go.
He gave us a taste of the world to come, not bound by time and space, just love and laughter.
His TA was instructed that whenever he sas 10 minutes late to the class, he should just start a physics film.
He'll show up at some point.... hopefully.
With David (alav hashalom) PEOPLE were important, NOW was important, making people LAUGH was important. He really LOVED people and we were blessed to know him.
Our relationship, which spanned decades seemed to be where he put me in the role of his mom, who he tragically lost as a child. He was very open with me and I would try to give him some guidance, as best I could. Sometimes we would be at a party and he would glance in my direction, like a naughty kid, when he knew that he had been exagerating a bit. He knew how well I knew him and he would say, "YOU KNOW ME TOO WELL". We were always willing to listen to each other's life challenges. He was an excellent listener. At times his life became so very complex, I would have to take a break. But like clockwork, whenever something significant would happen in his life, there would be a surprise knock on my door. I'd bring out some food, sit down at the table and listen to his heart. Our hearts reached out to this kind, sweet man who would never say a bad word about anyone.
David's two sons and daughter are MAMESH A GEVALT!!!!!!!!! They are the highest!!!! Every word they said during the sheva, was from a very pure place. Knowing Davidele (as Shlomo used to call him) for so many years, I knew about his family difficulties. But I want to tell everyone, his kids are continuing to shine his light. They didn't get to have all the time that some other kids get with their dads, but still, they have so impressed me with the way that they were giving us, the older adults, so much support, caring, encouragement and positive thoughts. How can they have been able to do that? Not a thought for themselves........
ITS A MIRACLE!!!!!!!!
His light continues to shine! They are a blessing to us all and the beautiful (blee ayin hara) grandchildren, too.
The last time that I saw BROTHER DAVID, just a few days before his passing, Elana, the organizer of the memorial for the Yeshiva boys z'l at Sinai Temple, was praising Reb Dovid to the highest heaven. She told all the people around that this is the "best Rabbi, I love him, he is my favorite Rabbi, etc., etc.," Reb Dovid had such a content look on his face. His expression was at once humble, like don't make a fuss over me, but it was also a look of finally being acknowledged publicly for all the years of hard work he had done, reaching people from the back door, in a more creative, funky way. So many have been willing to embrace their Judaism because of this great man.
I can't believe that I will never be put in the role of his guidance counselor anymore... not that he ever listened anyway.
Dance with Shlomo and may Moshiach join us all together right away.
I miss you my lifelong friend and expect you to walk in at any moment with your warm smile.

Marc (Mordi) Freeman said...

It's a Boy! Bracha had a Boy!

And so my introduction to David Montag ztz"l twice chai years ago at midnight in Los Angeles at Rabbi Rottenbergs ztz"l shule in Los Angeles.

And so with great sadness did I receive the news yesterday of his passing from Danny, his boy now grown to a man That night was a seminal event for me and I was never the same. If not for David I would not know any of you which would have been very sad. I would not have met Mimi which would have been even sadder.

He brought a lot of light into the world and to have experienced this light was something high and special that any of us who knew him can ever forget.

Like Shlomo he was open and loving to all. He changed the lives of many who knew him. His mesirute nefesh to help people in gashmiute and ruchniute---whoever they were—was on the highest level of a tzaddik, and to experience with him this mitzvah was an amazing and often exhausting "high" for the "normal" person.!!

I am thankful now to have seen him for the last time in January---the same boundless energy as that first night 36 years ago, no hint it was beginning to lag.

A final quote from Mimi: "David had more cheyne in his little finger than most people have in their entire beings". How true.

Bye David, we'll miss you like crazy.

Judith Samuel said...

David was such a special person! I knew him from the days when he, Jacob (don't recall his surname),Shana Lax, and I met weekly to study Torah. I saw him over the years at various Jewish events and most recently at a beautiful Metivta dinner at Malibu.

I always welcomed the opportunity of hearing what he had to say and his open, beautiful mind and spirit. He usually joked with me when I saw him and told me that he had spent some time with Albert Einstein and would embarrass me in those days, as he announced that I was a relative of Einstein! His sense of wonder will always be remembered!

Michael Ozair said...

Dear Olga,

My condolensces to you and your son Daniel. May you be comforted during this time among all the mourners of Zion, and all beings experiencing the pain of exile.

What you wrote about Reb Dovid Montag was so signficant and well articulated, I had to applaud your explanation on this blog.

You wrote:

"I think David had a very ancient, rare, very large size soul, the one that remembered so much on this Earth. And that might be one of the keys to his controversial character. We all have souls that are larger than our understanding. But with David, in was in a greater proportion....He felt lost sometimes because of that...overburdened by its size and power, but happy."

Unfortunately what you wrote is one of the "side effects" of spiritual beings temporarily experiencing themselves as humans here on earth. It can be very confusing, to say the least. One of my teachers explained, "the brighter the Light, the darker the Shadow"....

It takes wisdom to understand this, and mediocrity to cast blame at people's shortcomings and/or mistakes. I have personally been on the receiving end of this kind of moral witch-hunt. Therefore, I appreciate your insight as one who shared a marriage to him.

The first time I met Reb Dovid, was actually at your chuppah conducted by Reb Shlomo Carlebach in the backyard of Joshua and Lilian Ritchie in Los Angeles. Till this very day I remember the unique explanation that Reb Shlomo gave to why we use a "ring" to get married.

Contrary to the traditional explanation of a ring being perfectly round symbolizing uninterrupted marital harmony, Reb Shlomo explained:

"We get married with a ring because it has a hole in it. Unless both a chasan and kallah have a little hole in their heart, a little place where they are broken, they will never make it. Because if my heart is already whole, what do i need you for? why do i need anybody? why do I even need to get married? So I bless you both (Olga and David) that you should always have a heart with a little hole...not too cracked G-d forbid, but not too whole either..."

Olga, I will personally miss David, the same way I miss Reb Shlomo. They both had alot in common as to their amazement and wonderment of living, their unique ability to unconditionally see the good in others, and of course, as you mentioned the overabundance of Light and not always knowing what to do with it, or how to channel it. Personally, that is what I loved about both of them. Their unique spiritual gifts, as well as their human struggles.

I received a great email from one of Dovid Montag’s students / friends. I couldn’t help but laugh when he wrote, “David was both my role model and anti role model at the same time, and THAT is why we all loved him”

I could not have said it better.
HaShem bless you and yours!

Rachel Brill said...

There is so much we can learn from what David Montag embodied. He taught with his wonder and enthusiasm and sense of humor at the absurd ironies of life that life is so valuable and G-d's gifts are in everything. May we remember this teaching from our memories of him.

I remember a walk with Dovid to his cabin. We viewed a beetle and an ant on a leaf. He enthusiastically relayed that these mere bugs and leaf were such wonderful miracles of life. His wonderment so deeply touched me. I lived in his cabin when I was homeless and spent numerous holy shabbatot with him there. I have so many memories of him flooding my mind and heart. He relayed so many stories to me of his life and the life of the cabin. He numbered these stories with a wide grin and a loud laugh. He had a unique sense of the absurd.

I was very much in love with David. I loved his kindness and his way of empathizing and listening to others. Everything was a miracle to him. He had the childlike wonder and spiritual depth of a real Rebbe. He was mind and heart. I feel a very deep emptiness in my heart where he was and I wish I could have one-more conversation with him. I was honored to have known him.

Please may his memory be for a blessing.

May we remember the good and learn how to embody in our lives these wonderful deep and profound holy expressions of appreciation for G-d's gifts to us while we are alive.

I will miss him very much.

Laurette ben Nathan said...

I was upset to hear the sad news when a holy sister from the Happy Minyan called me yesterday. I tried to inform people. I knew David Montag from the early 70's through congregation members of the Sephardic Temple called "Magen David" now on Foothill but was then on Melrose. My late mother (of blessed memory) had called the shul before returning to the UK, this was shortly after I lost my father, and told the Shul to include me in their activies as she wanted me to "mix with Jewish people". So some of their Holy members (Rabbi) Avi Sutton, the Dwecks and other Holy People like the Richies, David Montag. I had conversations with David Montag at the Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's House of Love and Prayer on 9th Avenue in San Francisco. Both R'Shlomo and R'David helped me deal with the loss of my father and put they put in a spiritual light so that I could come to terms with it. In the 80's I worked on a film with R'David Montag called "Bird" directed by Clint Eastwood about the life of Charlie Parker. Rabbi David Montag played a Rabbi at a Jewish Outdoor wedding scene at Greystoke Lodge in BH. Yesterday at the Shiva his daughter Estee told me she was in the movie too. I went with the "Love-Life" group from Aish Hatorah on a hike through the Los Angeles Crest Forest along a stream to R'David Montag's cabin. And was amazed at the fact that he had a Torah and a shul in the woods. He gave a great devatorah. I have still have a photo with us all. Some of those people I saw yesterday. I would see him at the Carlebach Concerts, Bob Dylans concerts, Torah & Kabbalish Classes, many different shuls, simchas, parties, red-carpet movie screenings and he always had a good word of Torah to say and let you know what was going on in the Universe Astrologically speaking too! I will truly miss him. May he rest in peace! May we all take a leaf out of his book--he saw the world through different eyes.

Mon Mar 24, 11:00:00 PM PDT

Rachael Esther Hirschmann said...

I am so sad to hear this. He was such a sweet, gentle soul. He had such a special light about him. He was someone I had always hoped to know better, to learn from. He probably never knew it, but he touched my life in a very special way. He was one of those people that showed me the living Torah that I love. May his soul be dancing in Olam Habah with all the tzadikim.

Mon Mar 24, 06:44:00 PM PDT

Rina Daly-Goode said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bracha Montag said...

This is Bracha, David's first wife and mother of his three children.

I want to thank you all for the kind words and remembrances.

It is always a difficult time for family when someone passes.

I'd like to hear from more of you - especially from Israel.

If anyone would like to contact me they may do so by e-mail at idahobot@yahoo.com

Bracha Montag said...

I have very few photos of David any way. He kept most of our early photos and Daniel may have some as well. I hope they (the boys) will find them when they clean David's house.

I do sincerely thank you for the memorial site. The kids learned a lot about their dad that they were not really aware of. The knew that there was always people around David, and he always went out after Shabbes and other nights of the week, but they really had no idea of the profound effect he had on many peoples lives.

Thank you again.

jocheved said...

David Montag has the merit of being a holy gatekeeper which helped make my coming into Judaism and the Jewish way of life very special. I met him at the age of 19 when I showed up on his doorstep in the middle of the night with a mutual friend. He let me in and I stayed for quite a while as I explored from the inside what it is to be a Jew. I learned about Shabbes, Torah and keeping Mitzvot in his home, and I know that I am one of many. David and Bracha encouraged me when I made the life changing decision to make aliyah and for that I will always be grateful. I extend my heartfelt gratitude. During the time we spent together Bracha became a sister of the heart and one of my closest and dearest friends. I have fond memories of preparing seemingly endless, enormous meals for Shabbes and the Chagim when there were easily 40 guests at the table, even with two seders for Pesach. No one was ever turned away and it was a special, magical experience for us all. It was not always simple or easy as we all were going through different levels of transformation, which is what I believe we are doing here on this planet, but it was worthwhile. When I had no home and my family was far away the Montags and Ohr Chadash and all the chevreh became and still are my family. I am sorry to hear of his passing and send my most heartfelt condolences to Bracha, his chidren and the rest of his family. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and May David, Zt"l be blessed with an aliyat neshama. I can see him standing there in shamayim right next to Rebbe Shlomo sending us all good energy from on High.

Joy said...

REMEMERING RABBI DAVID MONTAGUE, z'l
Dance of Connection

Rabbi David Montag greeted me always with a big smile wherever we came upon each other, when our paths crossed in joy at whatever esoteric place of Jewish learning or Renewal event or Orthodox Happy Minyan simcha or Shabbat. David stood out, tall, centered, wearing a black leather vest or jacket, glasses, head covered over dark bristly hair, and curly payis / side curls hanging half way down the side of his face, right next to that open smile filled with words of welcome. What a grand greeting ambassador, always making me feel good. (Wasn't that Reb Shlomo's z'l way?) He let me know how wonderful it was to see me, "Sister Joy." Why did I deserve such a great greeting from someone I hardly knew? And to receive his blessings, and condolences. Because this came from David's immense neshamah / soul. David was connected to The Source of All Blessings.

David was not my rabbi, nor a close friend, but always offered joy in the moment; that amazing spirit of his, filled with wonder. Yes, child-like delight, not jaded, not taking for granted, but in awe and in gratitude. Whether it was some strange little Jewish store front of learning and art that opened up on the second floor of a building in Van Nuys and with a lecture by an Israeli renowned Kabbalist author, or on a grassy green slope by the water's edge at another rabbi's home gathering, meant to bring together and strengthen the bond of Renewal Jews, or at the last shul sponsored event in a condo's recreation room where I saw David, he was bright and cheery, even late at night. His joy was spontaneous in the moment and his joy was everlasting, both b'simcha and gila. This was David's gift to us, friends and strangers.

David, last summer, loved listening to the live music of Bruce Brill, at a west Valley synagogue's Malavah Malkah / post Shabbat celebration. David recalled the stories about how he had spent joyful times in the presence of this Israeli musician, who was here visiting his sister, Rachel. For David, it was how the souls would touch.

When I met David's son, Daniel, years ago at a Pesach experience, I was thrilled to know that this lovely young man was David's son, especially when I had a lovely younger daughter. I told David about my meeting his son. David loved that the world was small. So many friends have now shared with me the stories of how David, filled with mitzvot / good deeds and compassionate caring, had made a major difference in their lives.

I first met David around 1990. It was either in Rabbi Joshua and Lilliane Ritchie's Los Angeles home (before aliyah) or Rabbi Stan and Lynda Levy's home. This is where, respectively, we could learn with our most beloved visiting Chassidic rebbes, Shlomo Carlebach, z'l and David Zeller, z'l. In this home, I was telling a friend about my then current underground serious Kabbalistic learning with healer, Syrian Rabbi Fred Dweck, z'l. The friend, I think it was Rina Daly, listening to my story, pointed out David to me, so I immediately introduced myself. (It was Rina who loyally held the loving Shabbat memorial gathering in her home for Rabbi David, two nights ago, a week after he died.) With that same enthusiasm, great joy that he held and expressed, David confirmed that he, for many years had been learning with Fred. For all these years, David loved remembering that we shared this connection.

That evening, David continued to joyfully tell me of his marriage to Olga, and that he was in great exuberant anticipation bringing her and her son to America from Russia. I had the pleasure a couple of times, to meet Olga.

David shared with me that he had been Reb Shlomo's "agent", when he heard that I was serving as Reb Shlomo's percussionist and shlepper, and with chevra friend, Darlene, arranging his concerts. Another connection. Reb Shlomo had given smicha to David. Both David and Shlomo died of heart attacks close to their 69th birthdays. May their out-reaching souls be blessed to meet again in Sh'mayim. I am reminded of Reb Shlomo's words in Kol Chevra's newest released 13th Yahrzeit journal, "Everybody has an opportunity to change the world every day and each person is obligated to try." I think Rabbi David tried.

We both also davvened after Reb Shlomo's 1994 death, at our newly founded Happy Minyan. David just told me that we also shared Chabad davvening, and his was in Pasadena.

Baruch Hashem, I saw David, two weeks before he died on Purim, March 20th, 2008. David had read my "Chai Lights", Jewish events newsletter, and sure enough, showed up in Chatsworth for a lecture on "Jews of the West". As always, David was in awe. He loved the lecture, he told me, and he was "amazed" that the room was filled to capacity and on a Tuesday night, sponsored by a Valley synagogue. David questioned, "How could that be that so many Jews show up for a lecture in the middle of the week?" David had to speak to the president of the group and find out who these people were. He was going to go back to this Outreach Synagogue, and carefully signed his name on the long, almost blank, yellow mailing list sheet.

I want these synagogue people to know that David is not showing up at their events because he was just being affable, but that he can no longer share his joy. David was sincerely interested, always learning, always sharing, as he was in the later conversations with strangers, new people to meet even on the steps; stairs going up, going down, going in, going out. Whole animated conversations in mid-path. He was so expansively filled with life, ladders to new people adventures...

After I introduced David to the event's speaker-- another David (my former publisher), we left together, almost the last ones to leave, to walk to our cars down the road. David, at length, joyously spoke to the last people walking down the stairs to the street on their way home after long days, and taking out his business card from his left vest pocket, handed it to the new friends. The cards with the big blue eye printed on the front reads: OR CHADASH, Rabbi David Moshe Montag, Director and President, Monterey Park. CA. I already had the same card but took it anyway when David handed it to me. The card was still sitting out on my desk, when in disbelief, I got the phone call after Shabbat from Happy Minyan 'holy sister' Nina, about the very sad news of David's death and levaya / funeral. I have another business card of David's: Educomp, Marketers of Advanced Electronic Products. He had hand-written his name on that card along with three e-addresses, because I told him that at times I had trouble reaching him. David said he had retired from his teaching position as physics professor.

The last important words that David shared with me that evening before we both went grocery shopping for fruits and water at 10 pm, were of his feelings for people in his life. He said those words of sentiment as if his life depended on them, filled with depth of love. I have relayed those messages, as David had at that moment, unknowingly to me, made me his shaliach / his messenger.

With every encounter, David always asked me if I have seen our mutual friends. Always yes, moving in and out through life's joys and sorrows. At a Renewal gathering, I had introduced David to one of my best friends, Shira, and she in turn arranged for him to teach at Metivta, on "Physics and Torah." People loved it; David loved doing it.

Years ago, David invited friends for Erev Shabbat where he was leading services, at a Persian doctor's home by the beach. Sure enough in this little house, the living room filled tightly with chairs, there was a white lace prayer mechitzah / gender separator. I think at this house after dinner, is where David showed me albums of his treasured photographs. He had so much pleasure as he loved to tell the stories of his shidduchim / matches, and of the people who would visit at his cabin.

David gave me an unexpected honor over a decade ago. He called me and asked: Would I step in for him at a ceremony conducted by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi? I think it was in Oregon, and David figured out that I might be going to Renewal's Kallah there, and he was right. Reb Zalman was honoring with a title, giving smicha / "laying of hands" to his daughter Mimi who lives on Reb Shlomo's z'l Moshav Me'or Modi'in. So nu, what was this all about and why had he been invited? David proudly explained to me that he had made the shidduch / match between Mimi and her husband. It was one of many, over a dozen, that David had made. I told David that he made angels with every shidduch. We compared notes on our job as shadchen / matchmakers, one of the G*d given roles we play on earth.

I did go to the private ceremony, under trees at the side of a lake. I introduced myself to Mimi which was synchronistic and perfect because a dear friend of mine, AriellaShira, was roommate with Mimi at Kallah and had told me that this was a woman that I needed to meet. Two energy forces bringing me together for the first time with Mimi. Turned out that I knew her teenaged son.

It is a small world. Many years ago I was staying in a Jerusalem hotel because I wanted to meet a Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach whom I had read about, and decided I would find him in Jerusalem, far from my LA home. What I found were four young boys, teenagers, now around 30 years old, wandering around the hotel. They were the same age as my daughter so I spoke with them. They had "no place to stay in Jerusalem", so they told me. They were street wise. I gave them a key to my little room at the Moriah, and I brought up some food, bedding, and robes for the roof top pool, and four boys got to live there for awhile. I basically never saw the boys because I had registered at Hebrew University. These Moshav boys, inevitably, that very FIRST night, introduced me to Reb Shlomo, which was the mission of my journey to the Holy Land. I became famous as the woman who had Reb Zalman's grandson-- MIMI's son, and the boys in my hotel room. I had no idea who they were, I didn't even know their names; Just instinctively seemed like the right thing to do. It was Hashgacha Pratit / Divine Providence. One boy was surprised to find me reading his grandfather's book. Today some of the boys are famous Israeli musicians.

So I guess that Rabbi David, mazal tov, made a shidduch for me also, that I should know the mother of one of the four Moshav boys I hosted in my Jerusalem hotel room, and help to strengthen the circle of friendship. I hear that David did those people hosting mitzvot also. I remained in David's memory album. David remains in my memory as being a blessing on earth.

May Hashem comfort David's family and friends among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Hamakom y'nachem etkhem b'tokh sh'ar avelei Tziyon v'Yerushalayim.

"Reb Shlomo said that the secret to joy is to give blessings. Learn to bless, learn to draw near without using force – when you will be in that place you will be b'simcha and the Shechinah and all will draw near to you."
This is what Rabbi David, Shlomo's emissary, did on earth.
May David's neshamah be re-united with his beloved rebbe.

In sympathy, and my condolences to David's family and chevra,
May you and I both be blessed with the deep and child-like joy and delight that David felt and shared with us in his life-time.

Joy Krauthammer
"Serve G*d With Joy"

Joy Krauthammer said...

REMEMBERING RABBI DAVID MONTAGUE, z'l

Dance of Connection

Rabbi David Montag, z'l greeted me always with a big smile wherever we came upon each other, when our paths crossed in joy at whatever esoteric place of Jewish learning or Renewal event or Orthodox Happy Minyan simcha or Shabbat. David stood out, tall, centered, wearing a black leather vest or jacket, glasses, head covered over dark bristly hair, and curly payis / side curls hanging half way down the side of his face, right next to that open smile filled with words of welcome. What a grand greeting ambassador, always making me feel good. (Wasn't that Reb Shlomo's z'l way?) He let me know how wonderful it was to see me, "Sister Joy." Why did I deserve such a great greeting from someone I hardly knew? And to receive his blessings, and condolences. Because this came from David's immense neshamah / soul. David was connected to The Source of All Blessings.

David was not my rabbi, nor a close friend, but always offered joy in the moment; that amazing spirit of his, filled with wonder. Yes, child-like delight, not jaded, not taking for granted, but in awe and in gratitude. Whether it was some strange little Jewish store front of learning and art that opened up on the second floor of a building in Van Nuys and with a lecture by an Israeli renowned Kabbalist author, or on a grassy green slope by the water's edge at another rabbi's home gathering, meant to bring together and strengthen the bond of Renewal Jews, or at the last shul sponsored event in a condo's recreation room where I saw David, he was bright and cheery, even late at night. His joy was spontaneous in the moment and his joy was everlasting, both b'simcha and gila. This was David's gift to us, friends and strangers.

David, last summer, loved listening to the live music of Bruce Brill, at a west Valley synagogue's Malavah Malkah / post Shabbat celebration. David recalled the stories about how he had spent joyful times in the presence of this Israeli musician, who was here visiting his sister, Rachel. For David, it was how the souls would touch.

When I met David's son, Daniel, years ago at a Pesach experience, I was thrilled to know that this lovely young man was David's son, especially when I had a lovely younger daughter. I told David about my meeting his son. David loved that the world was small. So many friends have now shared with me the stories of how David, filled with mitzvot / good deeds and compassionate caring, had made a major difference in their lives.

I first met David around 1990. It was either in Rabbi Joshua and Lilliane Ritchie's Los Angeles home (before aliyah) or Rabbi Stan and Lynda Levy's home. This is where, respectively, we could learn with our most beloved visiting Chassidic rebbes, Shlomo Carlebach, z'l and David Zeller, z'l. In this home, I was telling a friend about my then current underground serious Kabbalistic learning with healer, Syrian Rabbi Fred Dweck, z'l. The friend, I think it was Rina Daly, listening to my story, pointed out David to me, so I immediately introduced myself. (It was Rina who loyally held the loving Shabbat memorial gathering in her home for Rabbi David, two nights ago, a week after he died.) With that same enthusiasm, great joy that he held and expressed, David confirmed that he, for many years had been learning with Fred. For all these years, David loved remembering that we shared this connection.

That evening, David continued to joyfully tell me of his marriage to Olga, and that he was in great exuberant anticipation bringing her and her son to America from Russia. I had the pleasure a couple of times, to meet Olga.

David shared with me that he had been Reb Shlomo's "agent", when he heard that I was serving as Reb Shlomo's percussionist and shlepper, and with chevra friend, Darlene, arranging his concerts. Another connection. Reb Shlomo had given smicha to David. Both David and Shlomo died of heart attacks close to their 69th birthdays. May their out-reaching souls be blessed to meet again in Sh'mayim. I am reminded of Reb Shlomo's words in Kol Chevra's newest released 13th Yahrzeit journal, "Everybody has an opportunity to change the world every day and each person is obligated to try." I think Rabbi David tried.

We both also davvened after Reb Shlomo's 1994 death, at our newly founded Happy Minyan. David just told me that we also shared Chabad davvening, and his was in Pasadena.

Baruch Hashem, I saw David, two weeks before he died on Purim, March 20th, 2008. David had read my "Chai Lights", Jewish events newsletter, and sure enough, showed up in Chatsworth for a lecture on "Jews of the West". As always, David was in awe. He loved the lecture, he told me, and he was "amazed" that the room was filled to capacity and on a Tuesday night, sponsored by a Valley synagogue. David questioned, "How could that be that so many Jews show up for a lecture in the middle of the week?" David had to speak to the president of the group and find out who these people were. He was going to go back to this Outreach Synagogue, and carefully signed his name on the long, almost blank, yellow mailing list sheet.

I want these synagogue people to know that David is not showing up at their events because he was just being affable, but that he can no longer share his joy. David was sincerely interested, always learning, always sharing, as he was in the later conversations with strangers, new people to meet even on the steps; stairs going up, going down, going in, going out. Whole animated conversations in mid-path. He was so expansively filled with life, ladders to new people adventures...

After I introduced David to the event's speaker-- another David (my former publisher), we left together, almost the last ones to leave, to walk to our cars down the road. David, at length, joyously spoke to the last people walking down the stairs to the street on their way home after long days, and taking out his business card from his left vest pocket, handed it to the new friends. The cards with the big blue eye printed on the front reads: OR CHADASH, Rabbi David Moshe Montag, Director and President, Monterey Park. CA. I already had the same card but took it anyway when David handed it to me. The card was still sitting out on my desk, when in disbelief, I got the phone call after Shabbat from Happy Minyan 'holy sister' Nina, about the very sad news of David's death and levaya / funeral. I have another business card of David's: Educomp, Marketers of Advanced Electronic Products. He had hand-written his name on that card along with three e-addresses, because I told him that at times I had trouble reaching him. David said he had retired from his teaching position as physics professor.

The last important words that David shared with me that evening before we both went grocery shopping for fruits and water at 10 pm, were of his feelings for people in his life. He said those words of sentiment as if his life depended on them, filled with depth of love. I have relayed those messages, as David had at that moment, unknowingly to me, made me his shaliach / his messenger.

With every encounter, David always asked me if I have seen our mutual friends. Always yes, moving in and out through life's joys and sorrows. At a Renewal gathering, I had introduced David to one of my best friends, Shira, and she in turn arranged for him to teach at Metivta, on "Physics and Torah." People loved it; David loved doing it.

Years ago, David invited friends for Erev Shabbat where he was leading services, at a Persian doctor's home by the beach. Sure enough in this little house, the living room filled tightly with chairs, there was a white lace prayer mechitzah / gender separator. I think at this house after dinner, is where David showed me albums of his treasured photographs. He had so much pleasure as he loved to tell the stories of his shidduchim / matches, and of the people who would visit at his cabin.

David gave me an unexpected honor over a decade ago. He called me and asked: Would I step in for him at a ceremony conducted by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi? I think it was in Oregon, and David figured out that I might be going to Renewal's Kallah there, and he was right. Reb Zalman was honoring with a title, giving smicha / "laying of hands" to his daughter Mimi who lives on Reb Shlomo's z'l Moshav Me'or Modi'in. So, nu, what was this all about and why had he been invited? David proudly explained to me that he had made the shidduch / match between Mimi and her husband. It was one of many, over a dozen, that David had made. I told David that he made angels with every shidduch. We compared notes on our job as shadchen / matchmakers, one of the G*d given roles we play on earth.

I did go to the private ceremony, under trees at the side of a lake. I introduced myself to Mimi which was synchronistic and perfect because a dear friend of mine, AriellaShira, was roommate with Mimi at Kallah and had told me that this was a woman that I needed to meet. Two energy forces bringing me together for the first time with Mimi. Turned out that I knew her teenaged son.

It is a small world. Many years ago I was staying in a Jerusalem hotel because I wanted to meet a Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach whom I had read about, and decided I would find him in Jerusalem, far from my LA home. What I found were four young boys, teenagers, now around 30 years old, wandering around the hotel. They were the same age as my daughter so I spoke with them. They had "no place to stay in Jerusalem", so they told me. They were street wise. I gave them a key to my room at the Moriah, and I brought up some food, bedding, and robes for the roof top pool, and four boys got to live there for awhile. I mostly never saw the boys because I had registered at Hebrew University. These Moshav boys, inevitably, that very FIRST night, introduced me to Reb Shlomo, which was the mission of my journey to the Holy Land. I heard that I became famous as the woman who had Reb Zalman's grandson-- MIMI's son, and the boys in my hotel room. I had no idea who they were, I didn't even know their names; Just instinctively seemed like the right thing to do. It was Hashgacha Pratit / Divine Providence. One boy was surprised to find me reading his grandfather's book. Today some of the boys are famous Israeli musicians.

So I guess that Rabbi David, mazal tov, made a shidduch for me also, that I should know the mother of one of the four Moshav boys I hosted in my Jerusalem hotel room, and help to strengthen the circle of friendship. I hear that David did people hosting mitzvot also. I remained in David's memory album. David remains in my memory as being a blessing on earth.

May Hashem comfort David's family and friends among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Hamakom y'nachem etkhem b'tokh sh'ar avelei Tziyon v'Yerushalayim.

"Reb Shlomo said that the secret to joy is to give blessings. Learn to bless, learn to draw near without using force – when you will be in that place you will be b'simcha and the Shechinah and all will draw near to you."
This is what Rabbi David, Shlomo's emissary, did on earth.
May David's neshamah be re-united with his beloved rebbe.

In sympathy, and my condolences to David's family and chevra,
May you and I both be blessed with the deep and child-like joy and delight that David felt and shared with us in his life-time.

Joy Krauthammer
"Serve G*d With Joy"

Rina Daly-Goode said...

Dear friends of the David Montag (z'"l) circle,

thank you all for reaching out
to pay respect for the legacy of a well lived life to honor all the
touched hearts, awakened dreams, give voice to the shuttered dreams too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you for showing up

to delight in Shabbat,

to share holy sounds

crowded around a living room table

being Hassids of joy

inspired by

one open minded/ Orthodox/ scientific Tuvia kind of a man

wondering the continents of his soul

spreading wonder, marvel, mystery,,,,

like G-d and the black hole theory ... he loved to tell

or what one to do when witnessing a beautiful creation,,,,, like a woman....?

my favorite David Jewish Discovery is where one can find the best and biggest Mikvah in the world to mark moments of transformation, moments of release, and Re-unification.

In his own off the wall way David was a good will peace ambassador,

Speaking his unique language

while climbing floor after floor

the Tower of Babel,

looking for lost Jewish souls.

Forever Grateful....

L'Shomer Darchai Israel... (for the keeper of the ways of Israel)

Rina Daly- Goode

BREE said...

BLESSINGS AND SHALOM...it's BREE! Please see and listen to WHY Rabbi David will live on FOREVER. He KNEW the TRUTH and wants you ALL to know it too!
www.soundfeelings.com/healerbree.htm
EMAILS only please!
Love, BREE

Billlll said...

Please, we wish to post videos and pictures and words about David MOntag. We seek guidance. Please contact us at bilbur@earthlink.net

theclutterwizard said...

I was an Or Chadashnik in the 70's and will always remember David fondly. I ran into him from time to time at Jewish events and each time his warm smile greeted me and enveloped me. Though we lost touch I will always remember him with much love. Sadly, I only heard of his passing from Joe Schonwald a few weeks ago and I missed his yahrtzeit at the Happy Minyan because I simply hadn't heard about it. I would have loved to go, I will most definitely miss him.

Steven Fuhrman said...

I met David at East Los Angeles College back in 1987 where I assisted him in his office within the Physics Department.

David was a very nice man with a unique laugh who would always make me smile. We discussed computers, electronics and how technology would change our lives.

After I left East Los Angeles College in 1992, David and I kept in contact off and on by telephone and email.

When my wife and I bought our house in 2002, we invited David to our housewarming party but he had to decline due to a conflict in his schedule. Then surprisingly at approximately midnight, someone rang the doorbell - it was David. I invited him in and said how surprised I was to see him, to which he said that he felt the need to come over and "bless this house".

Although I had been in contact with David a few times after that night, that was the last time that I actually saw him and the memory that I will have of him knowing that he is now gone.

David was a great man and I just wish that I had spent more time with him in the later years. I send prayers to his family and friends knowing the terrible loss they must feel.

Anonymous said...

It is Feb 8, 2011 this evening here in Luray, KS. I have been thinking of David often over the past weeks once again. He is on my mind often. So tonight I did a search for his address or other contact info.

I was so-so very sadden to discover his passing. So many of you have written so many beautiful true stories about his life.

He was an angel and a magic man, and was always loving to me. I met David in 1979 at ELAC. We stayed in touch over the years.

I never did happen to meet either of his wives, but i did get to meet his wonderful children. I spent many wonderful times up at the cabin.

Wow. This is amazing. His energy and love will live forever with me. - His friend Terri Dunkel "Tess"

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