Obituary: Eli Davidsohn
Eli Davidsohn

Eli Davidsohn, 80, beloved son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, brother-in-law and friend, passed away peacefully March 23, 2024, in Dallas. Over the past several years, he fought a valiant battle against multiple cancers and vascular dementia, staying positive until the very end. He was born in La Paz, Bolivia, Aug. 20,1943, to Mary and Rudi Davidsohn. His parents and older sister, Judith, had immigrated to Bolivia from Berlin to escape Nazi Germany. 

Following their arrival in La Paz, the family decided to follow fellow friends to Lima, Peru, where his sister Brigitt was born. Eli played the accordion at a young age and realized his passion for music. He had an innate talent for picking up any instrument and playing it without the ability to read music. He attended Jewish day school and, along with his Omi’s (grandmother’s) example, the seeds of his lifelong love of Judaism were planted.

At age 18, the family immigrated to Los Angeles following the premature death of his father and grandmother. Following a short time in Los Angeles, the family moved to Houston, to reunite with friends from Germany.

Eli joined Young Judaea, United Synagogue Youth and many other Jewish organizations. He dreamt of traveling to Israel to fight for the Jewish homeland’s autonomy and freedom. He did not go to Israel at that time but enlisted in the United States Army and gained his U.S. citizenship. 

Eli’s talent for organizing groups was recognized and he helped the different denominations of Army chaplains find places for their Jewish soldiers to worship in nearby cities. He also led religious services on the base. He received multiple Army commendation medals for his service.

His final military assignment was at Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells, where he was the assistant to the chaplain. Eli was responsible for bringing the Jewish soldiers to Congregation Ahavath Sholom and Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth for Shabbat and holiday services. On one of those occasions, Rene Wisch and her son, Steve, met Eli and invited him and the soldiers to their home for Shabbat dinner, which became a tradition. Eli met the Wisches’ eldest daughter, Linda, and they married in June 1968.

Eli and Linda lived in Fort Worth briefly. They moved to Houston and welcomed their first child, Amy, in 1971. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Dallas, where Eli became an indispensable member of the Texas Jewish Post team. Children Reuben, Jordana and Ethan soon followed.

As the family grew, so did Eli’s roots in the Jewish community. He became a fixture at Shabbat services, simchas and community celebrations throughout the Metroplex and beyond, filling them with ruach and Jewish pride.

His guitar and accordion were with him always. If there was a piano available, he would bring it to life. He had the ability to turn the most boring event into a full-fledged party, where he would have everyone singing and dancing. His passion for Jewish music and sharing it with others was unparalleled.

Eli loved teaching others about Judaism and he taught in many religious schools throughout the years including Congregations Ahavath Sholom, Anshai Torah, Beth Torah (where he was a longtime member), Shearith Israel, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shalom and Tiferet Israel, among others. Hundreds of b’nai mitzvah students were the beneficiaries of his haimish teaching style and understanding of human nature.

The youngest to the oldest community members reveled in his Shabbat and holiday programs, whether it was at Akiba Academy (now Akiba Yavneh), Golden Acres or The Legacy Senior Communities. His smile and passion were irresistible.

Eli was an active member of AA for over 30 years and his sobriety was paramount to him. He sponsored many over the years, using his knowledge to help others. He served on the leadership committee for the Gathering of the Eagles’ Memorial Day conference for many years, serving multiple times as master of ceremonies. Each year, he kicked off the event with a special song.

Eli was creative and mechanical. He made interesting string art and could fix anything. Following his work at the Texas Jewish Post, he and Linda opened Contempo Type and Printing, where he combined these talents. After many years Eli and Linda made the decision to close the print shop and later divorced. Eli continued as a sole proprietor in the printing business until he retired. Beyond his retirement from the printing industry, Eli never gave up his passion for performing Jewish music and teaching about Judaism, which brought him great joy.

Eli loved attending his children’s and later his grandchildren’s school programs and sporting events. He was always one of the loudest cheerleaders. He attended absolutely everything. His 11 grandchildren loved it when “Bito” was “in the house.”

Eli was predeceased by his parents and his sister Judy.

He is survived by his children and grandchildren: Amy Doty and her daughters Shea and Jessie; Reuben and Suzy Davidsohn and their daughters Tessa, Joey and Isabella; Jordana and Josh Bernstein and their children Rosie (Avi) Greenbaum, Zach, Micah and Shaya; Ethan and Liz Davidsohn and their daughters Fiona and Delilah; and his sister Brigitt Davidsohn and her children Lauren and Michael. He is also survived by his former wife, Linda Wisch-Davidsohn; and brothers- and sisters-in-law, Steve (Fern Bryan) Wisch, Judy Wisch, Susan Wisch and Sharon (Alex) Wisch-Ray; many loving nephews; an even larger extended family; and many friends.

Rabbi Ari Sunshine officiated at a funeral service Monday, March 25, in the Beck Sanctuary at Congregation Shearith Israel. Burial followed at Hillcrest Memorial Park. Pallbearers were Zach Bernstein, Ben Fishman, Kyle Morris, Alex Ray, Benjamin Ray and Steve Wisch.

A shiva minyan will be held at 6 p.m. at Congregation Shearith Israel with a reception following. Shiva minyans will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (Visitation begins at 5:30 p.m.) at the home of Suzy and Reuben Davidsohn.

The family extends its heartfelt gratitude to the exceptional care Eli received at The Legacy Senior Communities, truly a gift to the Jewish community.

Donations in Eli’s memory are suggested to Legacy Senior Communities, Congregation Shearith Israel, Congregation Beth Torah or the charity of your choice.

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