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.