Memorializing Rabbi Froman - Not With a Funeral, but a Cultural-spiritual Happening

Right and left, Palestinian and Israeli, man and woman, thousands, pay their respects in a ceremony filled with music, poetry and clapping.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

Even after his death, Rabbi Menachem Froman, who passed away on Monday from a prolonged illness, continued his unique path. There were eulogies from such figures as MK Moshe Ya'alon and the reading of a letter from Israeli President Shimon Peres.

But the ceremony held in his West Bank settlement of Tekoa on Tuesday was not a funeral, but rather a cultural-spiritual happening, which lasted four hours and was filled with poetry and music. Thousands of participants from across the spectrum took part in the happening, including Palestinian representatives.

At the request of the late Rabbi Froman, they sang together the song Ehud Manor's "Ein Li Eretz Acheret" (I have no other country" ) and for his widow, Hadassah, they sang the poem "Eshet Chayil" ("Woman of valor")

Ehud Banai and Berry Saharoff, who performed alongside Rabbi Froman on various occasions in recent years, sang other songs he loved. Right after singing "Lema'an Achay VeRe'ay" ("On behalf of my brothers and friends"), the funeral dispersed amid applause. Clapping was Rabbi Froman's favored Kabbalistic gesture, bringing together both hands, right and left, friend and foe, man and woman. All these people were intermingling there, in the thousands.

Froman, rabbi of Tekoa, was unique among settler rabbis in that he was a leading proponent of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue as far back as the 1980s, when contact with the PLO was still illegal. He was the spiritual leader of many young people and was known for his extensive contacts with people from a wide range of ideological circles. He was in constant contact with politicians, military leaders and in particular artists including writers, musicians and actors. More recently, he championed the idea of dialogue between Jewish and Islamic religious leaders as a path to peace, in which context he held intensive talks with religious leaders from both Hamas and Israel’s Islamic Movement.

In recent years, Froman launched several religious peace organizations. He also developed close ties with a wide range of people who spanned the political and ideological gamut, including army officers, politicians and, above all, creative artists from the worlds of literature, music and theater.

Rabbi Menachem Froman's funeral, March 5, 2013Credit: Ahikam Seri
Rabbi Menachem Froman's funeral, March 5, 2013.Credit: Ahikam Seri

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