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Rabbi David Massis, religious educator Jan. 2, 1921 -- Sept. 13, 2005

Services for Rabbi David Massis, of North Buffalo, were held Sept. 14 in Mesnekoff Funeral Home. Burial was in the Ohel Jacob section of Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.

Rabbi Massis, a religious educator, died Sept. 13 in Millard Fillmore Hospital. He was 84.

"It's very difficult when we know someone who has left an example of life, whose warmth radiated to anyone who knew him," Rabbi Herschel Greenberg said in his eulogy. "History will record a major contribution of Rabbi Massis to the spiritual and godly dimension of this community. God says, 'How much light you have brought to this community.' Alas, that light has been extinguished."

Born in Cincinnati, Rabbi Massis received his rabbinical ordination and bachelor's degree in education from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University in New York in 1942. He received a master's degree in education from Buffalo State College in 1968.

He was the rabbi of the Washington Highlands Jewish Center in Washington, D.C., for 12 years.

Moving to Buffalo in 1960, he taught Hebrew at Kadimah Day School; Hebrew, English and social studies at Bennett High School; and Yiddish for the Bureau of Jewish Education.

He was religious education director of Ahavas Achim, a Lubavitz synagogue on Tacoma Avenue during the 1960s and '70s.

Rabbi Massis was a chaplain at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Buffalo Psychiatric Center and Erie County Medical Center.

He was a longtime member of Saranac Synagogue.

An accomplished artist who studied art at the University at Buffalo, Rabbi Massis created more than 1,000 oils, watercolors, charcoals and pen and pencil drawings. He delighted in sketching his friends.

He also was a student of many languages and loved classical music.

Rabbi Massis' first wife, Betty Grossman Massis, died in 1985.

Survivors include his wife of 17 years, the former Barbara Platinger; two daughters, Rena of Buffalo and Judi Massis-
Leventhal of Fort Worth, Texas; two sons, Mort of Dallas and Gary of Queens; and four grandchildren.


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