Morah Michal’s husband Jay Davis, z”l, remembered for genius and humility


BP Photo by Mati Hurwitz

TOO SOON: Morah Michal Davis, left, grieving at her husband’s coffin with their children July 13.

By Mati Hurwitz, Summer Editor-in-Chief

Absolute silence was all that could be heard at Mount Sinai Simi Valley cemetery last Sunday, as over 300 people commemorated the sudden passing of Mr. Jay Davis, z”l, husband of Hebrew teacher Morah Michal Davis.

Mr. Davis, who was 57, suffered a heart attack last Thursday.  Morah Michal was joined at the service by her three children, Galya, 20; Nadav, 18; and Noa, 12. About 25 people came from Shalhevet, including Head of School Rabbi Ari Segal and teachers Mr. Jason Feld, Mr. Christopher Buckley, Mrs. Suzanne Halloran, and Ms. Roen Salem, as well as parents Esther Feder, Edith Ellenhorn and Claire Benyowitz.

Morah Michal, Galya and Nadav all delivered emotional speeches.

“It’s way too soon to end our life together,” Morah Michal said, weeping.

Prior to his death, Mr. Davis had endured two years of back pain and sleepless nights. Friends of the family told The Boiling Point that he would be fortunate to sleep for more than three hours on a night. His health suffered another setback when he broke his toe tripping on stairs. He would eat, but he lost a lot of muscle, they said.

On Thursday July 10, he drove to the hospital because he was feeling weak. His heart attack occurred in the hospital, Morah Michal said.

In addition to Morah Michal and the children, Mr. Davis is survived by his mother, Helen Davis, and two brothers, Steve and Scott Davis. He worked as a portfolio strategy manager at Zurich Financial Services.

In an interview at her Agoura Hills home, Morah Michal said her husband was brilliant in a wide variety of subjects, from history to science and from math to Torah.

“He was so knowledgeable about so many things, but he was humble,” Morah Michal added.

Scott Davis said his brother closely tracked current events and was a lifelong newspaper reader—at a young age even waking up at seven in the morning, racing out the front door to retrieve the paper.  In their eulogies, both he and Steve Davis described Mr. Davis as a genius.

“I think he had a mind and a brain like a supercomputer,” Scott Davis said.

Steve Davis said Jay could multiply and tell time from the age of four.

At the funeral, daughter Galya Davis discussed an important life message her father taught.

“Never quit – never give up,” Galya said, without holding back her tears. “Keep trying until you achieve what you want.”

She later said she would carry her father’s lessons and memories with her as she competes nationally in figure skating.

Nadav said that he would miss the man of the house tremendously, and looked forward to their father-son reunion.

“I can’t wait until Moshiach comes and we can be reunited,” Nadav said in his reflection.

Also at the service Sunday was Shalhevet Hebrew teacher Morah Flora Robin, who knew Mr. Davis personally.

“Jay was the sweetest, nicest man you’ll ever meet,” said Morah Flora, who has been friends with the Davis family for over 15 years.  Morah Flora also encouraged the entire community to pay a shiva call.

Morah Michal said that a number of students visited her on Monday including Principal Reb Noam Weissman, and drama teacher Ms. Emily Chase.

Incoming sophomore Maya Golan had a difficult time coping with the tragedy because she is family friends with the Davis family.

“To see them like this is horrific,” Maya said at the funeral. “I love and support the family.”