One day after a sellout crowd of 57,300 witnessed a stirring halftime ceremony for Al Davis at a Raiders game at the Oakland Coliseum, a much smaller gathering helped lay him to rest in a ceremony that began at an Oakland synagogue.
Approximately 100 people — many of them members of a tight-knit Raiders family — attended a private Oct. 17 funeral service in Oakland at Conservative Temple Beth Abraham, where Rabbi Mark Bloom was the only speaker during a 30-minute ceremony. Afterward, Davis’ casket was taken by hearse on a two-mile ride to Chapel of the Chimes mausoleum and columbarium, where the former Raiders’ head coach and owner was entombed.
After Davis died Oct. 8 at age 82, all details about his funeral and interment were kept secret so the family and friends could grieve privately. Davis was a longtime member at Beth Jacob Congregation, a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Oakland, but his son, Mark, is a longtime member at Beth Abraham, where he attends Shabbat services regularly during football season (in the off-season, he lives in New York).
At the service, Bloom wore a kippah adorned with the Raiders logo and a dark silver shirt in a nod to the team’s silver-and-black color scheme. Though he did not know Al Davis, Bloom spoke about his “trailblazing ways, his sense of hospitality, his sense of doing what was right whether or not others agreed with him [and] his loyalties.”
Bloom invoked comparisons to the patriarch Abraham, which was Davis’ Hebrew name.
The pallbearers were a mix of former Raiders coaches and players: John Madden, Tom Flores, Jim Plunkett, Art Shell, Willie Brown, Cliff Branch, George Atkinson and Ted Hendricks. Bloom said other former Raiders luminaries on hand included Dave Casper, Ken Stabler and Clem Daniels.
“Really, a who’s who of Raiders history,” said Bloom, who stands 5-foot-3. “Me standing next to those guys when they came to get the casket was quite a sight.”
Davis’ family was said to have chosen Chapel of the Chimes, in part, because of its visitors’ access. Sure enough, Raiders fans soon started showing up to see his crypt and place flowers. A facility spokesman said he expects large crowds this weekend.