Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rav Menahem Froman

Baruch Dyan HaEmet - Blessed is the righteous judge...

I've never seen so many people in my little yishuv that roughly 600 families call "home".  On a brisk and blustery Tuesday afternoon thousands of people from all over Israel gathered to honor the life of Rabbi Menahem Froman.  Rabbi Menahem was the Rabbi and spiritual leader of my yishuv, Tekoa.  I've never experienced anything like this in my life and I will be eternally grateful that I had the opportunity to live and pray in his community and synagogue.

In a land of indescribable amounts of conflict Rav Froman was a champion of peace.  He passionately worked for what he believed in.  He tirelessly worked to find a solution, peace, and understanding with our Muslim cousins.  

The first time I saw Rabbi Froman was at an annual festival held here in Tekoa called 'Hoshana Raba' marking the end of Sukkot.  I had never seen anyone radiate purity, innocence, light, and holiness like this man.  Dressed in all white, long white beard, a smile that's can only be described as magical, and eyes that sparkle with a light from another world.  He was on the main event's stage with a major Israeli musician, Ehud Banai, smiling and clapping and lighting up the audience with a radiance that is nothing short of contagious.  

As an immigrant I have been new to the Rav Froman phenomenon and idea of peace through religion.  His controversial ideas of achieving peace are simplistic and complicated and beautiful all at the same time.  His light shines on through his wife, 10 children, and grandchildren.  Their smiles radiate as brightly as his did.  Their energies and passion are as big as his was.  I am humbled to have briefly known him and his family.

MK Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) addressed on Monday night the passing of Tekoa's Rabbi Menachem Froman, who died after a battle with colon cancer.  "This was a great loss for the country. Rabbi Froman was one of the greatest fighters and lovers of the country. He loved peace and pursued peace, hated controversy, loved people and drew them closer to the Torah. He was always able to see the person beyond the dispute and to connect the different factions of the nation."

As I walked with the thousands of admirers and supporters from my synagogue to the cemetery I was lost in my own silent awe and admiration for this man.  The wind furiously blew us along the way we sang songs and hymns as we walked him to his final resting place.  

The head of the Shomron Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, expressed deep sadness over the passing of Rabbi Menachem Fruman Monday night.  "Israel and the communities of Judea and Samaria have lost an important spiritual leader. Rabbi Menachem Fruman worked all his life in original and varied ways to strengthen and expand the settlement and construction in Judea, Samaria and all of Israel. The residents of Samaria express their condolences to the family, the community of Tekoa, Gush Etzion and all of Israel. "
The young leaders of the Jewish Home party expressed their sorrow Monday night over the passing of Rabbi Menachem Fruman.  "The Rabbi was a brave man, a man of truth who was not afraid to go against the current, even when it was not easy. The Rabbi was a very special personality and knew how to integrate world views and differing opinions. A man of peace and love."


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