Dr. David Davis was also a Broadway actor and friends with Denzel Washington
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
HAIFA, ISRAEL (ANS – May 9, 2017) – Dr. David Davis, one of Israel’s senior Messianic leaders, and a former Broadway actor, has passed away.
“Davis was 79-years-old when he eventually succumbed following an intense battle with cancer over the past year. He is survived by his wife Karen and their two adopted sons,” said journalist, David Lazarus, writing in Israel Today.
Davis was the founder of Kehilat HaCarmel (Carmel Congregation) on Mount Carmel, in Isifiye, near Haifa, and Messianic leaders from across Israel and around the world have been flooding social media with expressions of love and appreciation for their deceased friend.
“During his 25 years of ministry in Israel, David gained the respect of many Messianic leaders in a land where building Messianic communities does not come easy. His sympathetic, yet bold leadership style, his willingness to encourage up-and-coming leaders, and his passion for unity in the body of Messiah were admired, even by those who were skeptical that an American Christian could have any significant impact on the lives of Arabs and Jews in Israel. Myself included,” said Lazarus.
“I remember well the first time I met Pastor David when he arrived in Israel in the 1980’s. He had been sent out by David Wilkerson and the Times Square Church in New York, with a vision to lead Arab and Jewish drug addicts to Christ. ‘Arabs and Jews?’ I asked him. ‘Together?’
“I was skeptical, until David asked me to teach a Bible study with the small group of recovering addicts he had assembled. They didn’t want fancy words or theological spin. Just Jesus, because these recovering Jewish and Arab addicts knew more than most that it was him who had brought them back to life, and taught them that Arab and Jew can live together, belong together.
“David’s passion for the lost inspired many Arab Christians and Messianic Jews across the country to reach out to drug addicts. After seeing the power of God working in the lives of those broken men, I also began an inner-city ministry to drug addicts in Tel Aviv.”
David Davis was the founding pastor of Kehilat HaCarmel (Carmel Assembly) on Mount Carmel, a congregation that began in 1991 as a Bible study for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
One media report said that it was during these days that a great wave of Russian Jews were returning to their ancient homeland under a bombardment of SCUD missiles from Iraqi’s dictator, Saddam Hussein. Not to be deterred, and inspired by David’s bold leadership, a community of Arab and Jewish believers emerged, reaching people of all backgrounds through ministries that continue until today, such as the House of Victory Rehab Center, the Or HaCarmel women’s shelter, Raven’s Basket feeding program, and Elijah’s Cloak clothing center.
Before his move to Israel, Davis was the Chairman of the Division of Arts of Fordham University at Lincoln Center, New York City, while also working as a professional actor on Broadway, off-Broadway and on television. In the mid-80’s, in the midst of a successful acting career, he had a dramatic encounter with Jesus during a revival among performing artists in New York, where he also met his Jewish wife, Karen.
He was soon “called” into ministry and began working with addicts and homeless people under the mentoring of David Wilkerson – well-known for his book, “The Cross and the Switchblade,” at Times Square Church, New York City. In 1989, the David and Karen immigrated and became citizens of Israel. In his book, “The Road to Carmel,” Davis chronicled his journey from the world of show business on Broadway to the mountains of Israel.
Israel Today reports Zvi Randelman, a Messianic Jewish pastor from Jerusalem, as saying, “I still remember David’s words of encouragement and his prayers. He had a father’s heart for the lost, the addicted, the desperate. He was instrumental in the establishment of Beit Hayeshua, a ministry to drug addicts we began in Jerusalem. Countless drug addicts and alcoholics owe their lives to David’s work of love and inspiration. Now David is in heaven with the Lord, and I am sure that when he entered into the presence of Yeshua, he heard the words ‘Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.’”
While Avi and Chaya Mizrachi of the Adonai Roi congregation in Tel Aviv, told Kehila News Israel, “We so appreciate David’s wisdom and counsel and appreciate what God called David and Karen to do. The drug rehabilitation center has been a tremendous ministry. David and Karen were pioneers here in Israel; David was such a leader in the land and meant so much to us. We are so sad at his passing but encouraged to know he is with His Savior.”
According to someone close to Davis, his friends included Hollywood star, Denzel Washington, who in 2010, along with his actress wife, Pauletta, “flew to Israel in his private plane” and caused a “media stir” with journalists being “flabbergasted to learn that his visit was to see David.” The two originally met in drama school in New York and had performed together in a Broadway show.
Washington, 62, has won two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes and is considered one of the most popular actors in Hollywood. He and Pauletta have four children.
The funeral for David Davis was planned for 4 p.m. today (Tuesday, May 9, 2017) at the Haifa Messianic cemetery, and was to be followed by a time of fellowship at Beit Yedidia,122 HaTishbi Street, Haifa.
Photo captions: 1) David Davis teaching during a Shabbat service at Kehilat HaCarmel. 2) Joyful worship at Kehilat HaCarmel. 3) Denzel Washington with his wife, Pauletta. (Mail Online) 4) Dan Wooding outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Besides running the ASSIST News Service, Dan has written some 45 books and hosts a weekly radio show and two TV programs in Southern California. He has reported from Israel and the Palestinian territories on ten different occasions and from within Gaza twice.
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