Rabbi Menachem Froman, beloved Rabbi of the town of Tekoa in Gush Etzion, has passed away. He was 68.
Rabbi Froman was ill over the past several years, after he was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. Rabbi Froman received intensive treatment for the cancer, but kept up his regular schedule as much as possible, teaching classes for adults and youths in the mixed secular-religious town where he was spiritual leader.
Rabbi Froman was best known for his unique approach to Jewish-Arab relations. He believed that people with strong a religious heritage could more easily achieve a meeting of the minds than politicians, and he met on a regular basis with local Muslim leaders. Throughout those meetings, he did not deny his identity, that of an Orthodox rabbi from a “settlement.”
He also met with Yasser Arafat in Ramallah, and with Hamas' Ahmad Yassin. He also met with Turkush leader Erdogan in Turkey after the Marmara incident, in an attempt to find a way to restore relations between Turkey and Israel.
His approach was much admired by some, while others criticized him for allegedly “consorting with the enemy,” although his gentle manner kept them from becoming antagonistic towards him. Rabbi Froman never backed down or apologized for his attempts to reach an understanding with Moslem religious leaders.
Over the years, Rabbi Froman taught at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav, Yeshivat Hakotel, and the hareidi Itri Yeshiva. He received rabbinical training and certification from former late Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren.
In a recent interview with Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Froman said that recent unrest in the Arab world was an excellent opportunity for Jews to have a lesson in faith. “Faith requires us to be watch and wait, to be open, to be ready for surprises. There are greater forces at work. Often what we want in life is not what happens. To be religious means to be free of stereotypes, ideologies, and plans, and even our religious ideas. This is what we learn from the Arab riots. I hope we will soon see redemption for us and our families and nation,” Rabbi Froman said.
Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Council, mourned Rabbi Froman, saying: "Gush Etzion is saddened by the passing of Rabbi Menachem Froman, the Rabbi of Tekoa. The Jewish people and the Israeli public have lost a great man Rabbi Froman was a respected Torah scholar with a radiant soul that loved people and brought them closer to the Torah. He was one of the mainstays of settlement in Gush Etzion and all of Eretz Yisrael, and bequeathed love of one's fellow man and the love of peace to all of us."
Funeral on Tuesday at 12:00 noon in Tekoa. The Gush Etzion Council has arranged bus transportation from the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa beginning at 11:30 a.m.