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Maurice Davis (rabbi)

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Title: Maurice Davis (rabbi)  
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Subject: African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–68), Selma to Montgomery marches, Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation
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Maurice Davis (rabbi)

For other people named Maurice Davis, see Maurice Davis (disambiguation).
Rabbi Maurice Davis
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
Parents Jack and Sadie Davis

Maurice Davis (December 15, 1921 – December 14, 1993[1]) was a rabbi, and human rights 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, where he had a column.

Family life

Rabbi Davis married Marion Cronbach, daughter of Rose Hentil and prominent reform rabbi and well-known Kansas.

Civil rights work

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.

Opposition to the Unification Church

In 1970, when two of his congregants' children became involved with the Unification Church, Davis began to educate himself more about the nature and methodology of cults. He soon became involved in assisting 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 observed commonalities among the young people he counseled that had joined cults. He found that most of these individuals were dropouts from mainline churches and synagogues - and that they were on a quest for idealism, community and a sense of belonging.[3]

Davis founded and headed the national anti-Moon organization called Citizens Engaged in Reuniting Families, which in 1976 comprised 500 families.[4] Davis stated that he received letters from distraught parents all over the United States, telling "the same story".[5] He elaborated his points, asserting that the recruitment tactics used by the Unification Church are "a form of hypnotism".[5] In November 1976, Rabbi Davis spoke at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester, New York, on the topic of "The Moon People And Our Children".[6] He has also compared the Unification Church to the Nazi Youth movement, and to the Peoples Temple.[7]

Other work opposing controversial groups

In 1980 Davis was sued for $2 million by a woman who claimed that he held her against her will in a deprogramming case.[8] Davis later testified at a Congressional panel organized by Senator Bob Dole that he had received death threats due to his statements.[7] In 1990, Davis criticized the Jews for Jesus movement as being "devious" and "deceptive". He further stated that people who accept Jesus as the Messiah are, by definition, Christians not Jews.[9]

Davis contributed as an advisor to the making of the film Split Image (1982), a story about a young man caught in a controversial Christian cult.

Later life

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."


  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • They have distorted our holidays, demeaned our faith, misstated our history, and belittled a legacy which we have spent centuries preserving and enlarging.[9]
  • I keep thinking what happens when the power of love is twisted into the love of power.[13]




External links

  • Rocky Mountain Hai - Rabbi JayR (Bahir) Davis (official website)
  • Congregation Emanu-El, Wichita, KS
  • Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation
  • Rabbi Davis' sermon after marching with Rev Dr. Martin Luther King

Template:New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects

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