Originally from Seattle, Washington, David Barnett was raised in the Reform movement, at Temple de Hirsch, and then at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation. While a student at the University of Washington, he developed a relationship with Rabbi Moshe Pomerantz of Herzl-Ner Tamid, which led to an interest in more traditional Judaism.
After earning his BA, Barnett spent six months on Kibbutz Netzer Sereni and at an ulpan, attaining basic fluency in Hebrew. He then decided to pursue the rabbinate, and was in the first class of students at the Midreshet Jerusalem program at Neve Schechter, under the auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). While there, he applied to the JTS rabbinical program. Barnett spent his first two years in Los Angeles at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University), where he earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Letters. He also studied under Allan Michelson z”l, a preeminent West Coast cantor, and then completed his rabbinic studies at JTS in New York. Barnett was ordained in 1986.
He served for two years as assistant rabbi at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, before relocating to southern California in 1988. Over the next 25 years, Barnett worked at numerous Jewish congregations and officiated at funerals in conjunction with several prominent Jewish mortuaries. “Through that work, I found tremendous meaning in helping people transition from the shock of immediate loss to the process of honoring their loved ones who had passed and finding meaning throughout the process,” he says.
In 2011, Barnett was offered an interim-rabbi position in Virginia Beach, which led to three more interim positions – Temple Beth-El in Poughkeepsie, Huntington (N.Y.) Jewish Center, and Rodeph Sholom in Bridgeport, CT.
Barnett is an accomplished musician who studied both violin and classical guitar for many years and finds “great joy and meaning in sharing all of my developed talents and skills with each congregation I serve.”
Rabbi David Barnett
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