Reb Froman Remembered by Shahabuddin David Less

Reb Froman was a prophet in the Land of the Prophets. He knew that peace was coming, he knew that understanding and coexistence would emerge between Israel and Palestine, and he knew that the Abrahamic religions would recognize and direct themselves toward fulfilling their common and joint destiny.

Like other prophets he was unafraid to share his thoughts with any whether they were ready to receive them or not because these were not the product of his mind but instead the treasured product of his heart and soul. He also possessed the charm and luminous bearing that only comes to those who are immersed in the love of God and God’s Creation which is humanity.

Over the years I saw people who disagreed with him learn to love him deeply in spite of what they perceived as a difference of ideology.  And like a prophet he was not an ideologue but an inspirer.

I first met Reb Froman and his wife Hadassah on a bus that was going to an interfaith event in the north of Israel. We spoke for no more than 2 minutes and he said, “Oh, you’re a Sufi, so you must have prophetic powers – tell me, what do you see for the Holy Land?” I shared my own inspirations and while doing so, recognized that I was drawing my inspirations from this holy man, smiling up at me with incredibly beautiful twinkling eyes. From that moment on we became friends and shared the certainty that peace would come.

Here was this Orthodox Jewish Rabbi who befriended some of the most right-wing Israeli leaders and clergy, who befriended leaders of the PLO and Hamas, and who befriended many who would never have considered peace as a possibility until they experienced it in him.

He and I were leading a workshop at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona, Spain in 2004. We asked people to share in the Sh’ma, the foundational one-line prayer of Judaism. The room was filled with many conservative Spanish Catholics who didn’t feel comfortable repeating the phrase in Hebrew. So he shortened it and asked them if that would be ok – but they weren’t quite convinced yet. We ended up chanting together just the one word “Sh’ma” and the heart-mind of the group united and opened. This was Reb Froman.

If he couldn’t get people to go through the door, he hoped to get them to open it fully. If they weren’t ready to open it fully, he would at least help them open it just a crack, for he knew, as we all know in our hearts, that peace will prevail.

Many peaceworkers and those who seek a different way represent a point in the process of evolution, but Reb Froman’s name will last because he represents the entirety of what humanity truly is.

Shalom, Salaam.


David-Less black & whiteRev. Murshid Shahabuddin David Less