Rabbis for Human Rights

Appreciation: Rabbi David Forman - An Orthodox Reform Jew

Although best known for founding the left-wing Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi David Forman defied ideological pigeonholing.

05/12/2010
Staff Writer

Over lunch several years ago, across a table at a Manhattan kosher restaurant from a middle-aged rabbi with a graying beard, large knit kipa and critical opinions about the spiritual life of most American Jews, I told my guest to ‘fess up.

“You can tell me the truth,” I said to Rabbi David Forman. “You’re really an Orthodox rabbi.”

Rabbi David Forman

Rabbi David Forman - Baruch Dayan Emet

David Forman, 65, a Reform rabbi and founder of Rabbis for Human Rights -- a far-left organization that increasingly acted contrary to Forman's own priority of defending the human rights of Jews before (or at least alongside) everyone else's -- died May 3 in Dallas while awaiting a liver-transplant. He made aliyah in 1972. Rare is the leftist or the Reform rabbi who challenged his own as profoundly as did Forman, or who so profoundly challenged the rest of us. Steve Lipman has an appreciation of Forman in our upcoming issue.

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