Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman
Rabbi Emeritus, Ohef Sholom Temple
Rabbi Forman was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and received his B.A. from the University of Washington, in Seattle, and an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rabbi Forman received an M.A. in Hebrew Letters, and Rabbinic Ordination from the Seminary. His Rabbinic Thesis is titled: “Some Philosophical, Psychological and Ethical Elements in the Writings of Erich Fromm”. In 1987 he was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1993, the Rabbi received his earned doctoral degree from Boston University’s School of Theology in Philosophy and Religion. His Doctoral Thesis is titled: “Those who make Teshuvah are called the Children of Abraham and Sarah,” and deals with the issues of Conversion, Intermarriage and Finding a place for the non-Jew in today’s Synagogue.
Rabbi Forman has served Ohef Sholom Temple with distinction as Senior Rabbi for more than three decades. He has held Emeritus status since November of 2000. He has been active
on many community boards and Governor’s Commissions and has received numerous awards and honors, including the National Conference for Community and Justice Award for outstanding Interfaith and Communal Service. Both the Congregation and the Rabbi have worked hard on educational, liturgical, ethical, theological and communal projects, not only for members of the Temple, but also for the entire Hampton Roads community and the Commonwealth of Virginia, including the Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Howard and Georgeanna Jones In-Vitro Fertilization Ethics Committee. The Temple Religious School has been named in his honor.
In 2001, and 2002, Rabbi Forman served congregation Ner Sholom in Woodbridge, Virginia, in a one-year position as Interim Rabbi, ministering to their special needs as employees, friends and relatives of the September 11, 2001 horrific attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center by Muslim fanatic terrorists, guiding their religious school, adult education and interfaith programs.
In 2002, the Rabbi returned to the Veteran’s Hospital in Hampton, Virginia, as an intermittent Chaplain. At this time, he also concluded negotiations with Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, regarding the establishment of the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding. With the help of key individuals, including Charles Cooper and Dr. Roseann Runte, President of ODU, he assisted in raising $750,000 to begin the program. Currently, the Institute is embarking on ways to draw the Christian Community and others into the Institute’s programs and activities. A goal of $3 Million has been proposed so that permanent positions can be established in the areas of Jewish and Christian Studies, lecturers brought in, a tele-tech-net program and web site can be implemented, and outreach can be further extended to the current faculty and into the community. ODU already has a Middle-Eastern and Islamic Studies program, and it is felt the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding will complement such other programs.
In 2003, the Rabbi was named Director of the Institute for Jewish and Interfaith Studies at ODU. His position draws him into Recruitment, Fund Raising and Teaching. His popular course, “The Evolution of Jewish Thought” draws many students of all faiths. The Rabbi also teaches Philosophy 150, “World Religions” and Religion 311, “The Hebrew Bible in English.”
In June 2004 Rabbi Forman was asked to return to active ministry at Ohef Sholom, where he served as Interim Senior Rabbi for thirteen months, until the arrival of Rabbi Mandelberg. On July 1, 2005, he resumed his status as the Congregation’s Rabbi Emeritus. Rabbi Forman is proud to be part of this excellent team and to continue his dedicated and devoted service to the Congregation and its members. Rabbi Forman can be reached at the Temple office (757) 625-4295 or on his cell at (757) 373-1733.