Author, activist and founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi David Forman, passed away on Monday in Dallas while awaiting a liver transplant. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Forman founded Rabbis for Human Rights in 1988, and was its chairman between 1988 and 1992 and between 2002 and 2003. He held a number of key leadership positions during his rabbinic career, including director of the Israel office of the Union for Reform Judaism (1976-2003), where he led the struggle for religious pluralism in Israel… Before that, Forman was chairman of Interns for Peace (1984-1986), founding chairman of both the Jerusalem Council for Soviet Jewry (1973) and the Cincinnati Council for Soviet Jewry (1970), vice chairman of Seminarians for Peace, and a member of Clergy and Laity against the War in Vietnam (1968-1972). In 1964, he joined the Freedom Riders civil rights activists in challenging the US South’s Jim Crow laws and the noncompliance with a US Supreme Court decision that prohibited segregation in all public interstate transportation facilities.

The JTA notes that “Forman was ordained in 1972, and received a doctorate in 1997 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Between 1977 and 1991 he was a deputy commanding officer in the Israeli army, receiving a citation for meritorious service in 1990.”

I may not have always agreed with Rabbi Forman, but in all the ways that mattered, he was a model Jew (Reform or otherwise), a model Israeli and a tireless activist. Rabbi Forman is survived by his wife and four children. His funeral is set for Thursday in Israel.

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I have nothing to say except Baruch Dayan haEmet. Maybe he will be granted the mercy that the people of Sderot have not been able to enjoy. But that’s for G-d to decide.

  • Rabbi Forman tended to be a man of the left, which means he was almost always right. Zichrono l’vracha.

  • baruch dayan haemet

    the man spoke out against the rachel corrie foundation and the death cult that has arisen around her, so he had that going for him

  • You’re telling me that a Reform person is actually Jewish? Now I’m really confused.

  • 😆

    Tom, since you want to mess up a perfectly nice obituary-type post, the issue for those who reject Reform Jews tends to rest on their converts. After all, if the mom is Jewish, you can be Reform and Reconstructionist at the same time and nobody will say boo.

  • Sorry, Middle, you’re right. As ck says, Rabbi Forman seems like a nice guy even if he was Reform.

  • I didn’t say that Tom. I said he seemed like a nice guy, period. He was a Zionist who fought for what he believed in from here, from the inside. He lived here, served in the Army here and had an immediate stake in this society he sought to better. I appreciate that so much you have no idea. His denominational affiliation was/is irrelevant.