About Rabbi Dr. David Davis

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Rabbi Dr. Davis teaches students at Barrett, the Honors College.


“Rabbi Dr. David Davis is a professor of theology and religious studies and was the first occupant of the Benjamin and Mae Swig Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of San Francisco, of which he was the founder and director. The Jesuit President of the University of San Francisco referred to Rabbi Davis as a “one man ecumenical movement” for his work in building bridges between the American Jewish and Christian communities. He was named Professor Emeritus at USF and most recently is a faculty member of Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.” (Quoting from ASU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Spring 2012 Course Schedule, http://www.usm.maine.edu/olli/national/national_conference/virtualtabledocs/catalogs/ASU_Spr2012cat.pdf)

“Rabbi David Davis served as Rabbi of the Temple from 1997-2001, at which time he was named Rabbi Laureate. Rabbi Davis joined Vanderbilt University as a member of the Administration and Faculty and served in that capacity until 2005. Previously, Rabbi Davis served as Associate Vice President for University Relations and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of San Francisco. During that time he also continued his work, begun in 1977, as Director of the Swig Judaic Program at that university; he also maintained a practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist.

The President of USF, Jesuit Fr. John Lo Sciavo, calls David a “one-man ecumenical movement”. His colleagues applaud his “bridge building,” his work to bring understanding among diverse groups and individuals. As early evidence, during his seminary days, his leadership in a nationwide seminary civil rights movement was recognized by President Johnson with an invitation to the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Prior to university work, Rabbi Davis served as Chaplain of San Quentin Prison for eight years, and as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, California (1970-76), Associate Director of the National Federation of Temple Youth in New York (1967-70) and Assistant Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Worcester, Massachusetts (1965-67).

Rabbi Davis established the first chair in Judaic Studies at a Catholic university in the United States and was the first Rabbi to occupy a full-time position in the theology department of an American university. Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York, honored him with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1990.” (Quoting from, The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom: http://www.templenashville.org/index.php?file=/_content/1_about_temple/bios.htm)