Rabbi Emeritus Seth CastlemanSeth Castleman grew up with theologian and mystic Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and his father swapping stories over the Shabbat and Passover seder table. One of his earliest memories is of his rabbi, bespectacled with a scraggly beard, leaning over to tell a wide-eyed five-year-old a story about mountains and the sweetest strawberry ever tasted – a Zen parable about our life-long search for meaning. So began Seth’s spiritual journey.
Today, Castleman teaches, lectures and writes about Judaism, spirituality and social service in synagogues, meditation centers, universities and non-profit organizations.
In the role of rabbi and spiritual leader, Castleman leads religious services and teaches nationally, in large suburban synagogues and small, rural communities alike. Seth is sought out by individuals, couples and families to perform traditional and alternative weddings, b’nai mitzvah, baby namings and funerals. He co-creates innovative rituals that are renowned for being deeply moving and sincerely reflective of those being honored.
Seth completed seven years in yeshiva and rabbinical school. He was ordained as a rabbi in an inter-denominational smicha in May, 2011.
As a pastoral counselor, Seth works in communities in crisis as well as with individuals, families, couples and children. Castleman has taught meditation for 12 years and has studied with many of the leading meditation masters in the US, Israel and the Far East. He is formally trained and authorized to teach by Dr. Jack Kornfield.
Seth has performed nationally as a critically acclaimed Jewish storyteller and his fiction and non-fiction writing has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines and anthologies.
Seth served as rabbi of both Congregation Ahavat Shalom and of Temple Beth El in Traverse City until December 2012.