Maurice Davis

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Rabbi Maurice Davis
Rabbi Maurice Davis.jpg
Rabbi Davis, Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation newsletter
Born (1921-12-15)December 15, 1921
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died December 14, 1993(1993-12-14) (aged 71)
Palm Coast, Florida, United States
Occupation Rabbi
Spouse(s) Marion Cronbach
Children 2 children, 6 grandchildren
Parent(s) Jack and Sadie Davis

Maurice Davis (December 15, 1921 – December 14, 1993[1]) was a rabbi, and activist. He served on the President's Commission on Equal Opportunity, in the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and was a director of the American Family Foundation, now known as the International Cultic Studies Association. Davis was the rabbi of the Jewish Community Center of White Plains, New York and a regular contributor to The Jewish Post and Opinion.

Education[edit]

Personal and Family life[edit]

Rabbi Davis married Marion Cronbach, daughter of Rose Hentil and prominent reform rabbi and well-known pacifist (and Davis' teacher) Abraham Cronbach. Davis and his wife had two children, Jay (Bahir), who has two children and is the rabbi of Rocky Mountain Hai, a trans-denominational Havurah based in Colorado; and Michael, who has four children and is the rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El, Wichita, Kansas.

Civil rights work[edit]

The 3rd Selma Civil Rights March frontline. Davis is in the second row, over the left shoulder of Martin Luther King, Jr. (4th from right).

In 1952, Davis founded the Kentucky Committee on Desegregation. In 1965 he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama and was appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Johnson.

Anti-Cult Activity and Opposition to the Unification Church[edit]

In 1970, when two of his congregants' children joined the Unification Church of the United States, Davis educated himself about the nature and methods of groups he considered to be cults. He assisted the parents of "cult children".[2] Davis directed and appeared in the film, You Can Go Home Again, produced by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Davis reported that he observed commonalities among the young people he counseled who had joined the Unification Church. He found that most of them were dropouts from mainline churches or synagogues - and that they were on a quest for idealism, community and a sense of belonging.[3]

In 1972, Davis founded the group Citizens Engaged in Reuniting Families (CERF),[4] a national anti-Unification Church organization, which by 1976 was comprised 500 families.[5] In November 1976, Rabbi Davis spoke at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, New York, on "The Moon People And Our Children".[6] He compared the Unification Church to the Hitler Youth, and the Peoples Temple.[7]

Activism for Judaism[edit]

In 1990, Davis criticized people who refer to themselves as Jews for Jesus, Hebrew Christians or Messianic Jews as being "devious" and "deceptive". He further stated that people who accept Jesus as the Messiah are, by definition, Christians and not Jewish.[8]

Quotes[edit]

  • Brotherhood postponed. The time has come, and it has been a long time in coming. The time has come to worship with our lives as with our lips, in the streets as in the sanctuaries. And we who dare to call God, God, must begin to learn the challenge which that word contains.[9]
  • We know, and we must never forget, that every path leads somewhere. The path of segregation leads to lynching. The path of anti-Semitism leads to Auschwitz. The path of cults leads to Jonestown. We ignore this fact at our peril.[10]
  • The last time I ever witnessed a movement that had these qualifications: (1) a totally monolithic movement with a single point of view and a single authoritarian head; (2) replete with fanatical followers who are prepared and programmed to do anything their master says; (3) supplied by absolutely unlimited funds; (4) with a hatred of everyone on the outside; (5) with suspicion of parents, against their parents—the last movement that had those qualifications was the Nazi youth movement, and I'll tell you, I'm scared.[11]
  • They have distorted our holidays, demeaned our faith, misstated our history, and belittled a legacy which we have spent centuries preserving and enlarging.[8]
  • I keep thinking what happens when the power of love is twisted into the love of power.[12]
  • I am here to protest against child molesters. For as surely as there are those who lure children with lollipops in order to rape their bodies, so, too, do these lure children with candy-coated lies in order to rape their minds.
  • Herbert L. Rosedale, at the time president of the American Family Foundation, said of Davis: "A great and gentle radiance has left our scene with the death of Rabbi Maurice Davis. He was one of the people who first brought me into the circle of those devoted to helping cult victims. His compassion and vision were inspiring. He saw clearly the dangers which awaited those who lost their free will to totalism."

Works[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times Obituary
  2. ^ Hypnosis for young adults: Freeing “the doctor who resides within”, Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy, ISSN 0022-0116, Volume 12, Number 2 / September, 1981.
  3. ^ "A Glass Half Empty", James J. DiGiacomo, America, Vol. 191 No. 7, September 20, 2004., ISSN 0002-7049
  4. ^ Obituaries, The Baltimore Sun, December 20, 1993
  5. ^ Mad About Moon, TIME Magazine, November 10, 1975
    Last week Sheeran and 500 other parents met at a Westchester County synagogue whose rabbi, Maurice Davis, heads a 500-family national anti-Moon organization called Citizens Engaged in Reuniting Families. Some 20 young defectors from the Moon cult were present; several urged their elders to drive up to Barrytown and rescue their children. Distraught parents gave one another moral support.
  6. ^ A Temple on the Mount: A History of Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, by Jacob Judd, Ph.D., 1999, retrieved 2/8/07.
  7. ^ Cults Hearing Noisy, Tense, By Marjorie Hyer, Washington Post, Tuesday, February 6, 1979; Page A14
    .. they saved their deepest animus for Rabbi Maurice Davis of White Plains, N.Y., a prime mover in the anti-cult movement. He was repeatedly interrupted with shouts of "lies! That's a lie!" as he spoke of death threats he had received and likened the Unification Church to the Nazi Youth Movement and the Peoples Temple. The rabbi inflamed the crowd even further with his concluding comments: "I am here to protest against child molesters. For as surely as there are those who lure children with lollipops in order to rape their bodies, so, too, do these lure children with candy-coated lies in order to rape their minds."
  8. ^ a b The Indianapolis Star, January 27, 1990, page A-8, By Carol Elrod, Star Religion Writer
    In his column in a recent issue of The Jewish Post and Opinion, a national newspaper, Rabbi Maurice Davis wrote that people who refer to themselves as Jews for Jesus, Hebrew Christians or Messianic Jews "have pretended not only that they are Jewish, which they are not, but that they speak for either Jews or Judaism, which they do not." "They have distorted our holidays, demeaned our faith, misstated our history, and belittled a legacy which we have spent centuries preserving and enlarging." Rabbi Davis, a former spiritual leader at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, went on to note that people who accept Jesus as the Messiah by definition Christians; they are not Jewish.
  9. ^ "Brotherhood Postponed: A Sermon by Rabbi Maurice Davis (March 26, 1965)"
  10. ^ "The Art of Hoping: A Mother’s Story", Cultic Studies Journal, Michael Langone, Ph.D.
  11. ^ Coming Out of Scientology: The Nightmare Ends, The Nightmare Begins
  12. ^ Masters and Slaves: The Tragedy of Jonestown, Fanita English, M.S.W., September 1, 1996 Vol.1, no.2, Idea, ISSN 1523-1712

External links[edit]