Lawrence Arthur Forman

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Lawrence Arthur Forman

Rabbi Forman was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and received his B.A. from the University of Washington.  He was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati and received a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from the Seminary.  Upon Ordination, Rabbi Forman served as Post Jewish Chaplain in the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of Captain.


Rabbi Forman became associate Rabbi at the Abba Hillel Silver Temple in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned a second Master of Arts in Religion at Case Western Reserve University.


In 1970, the Rabbi was called to Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk, Virginia.  In 1987, he was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  In May, 1993, Rabbi Forman received his earned Doctorate from Boston University’s School of Theology.


The Rabbi has received numerous awards and honors, including the Brotherhood Citation of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Lion of Judah Award from National Israel Bonds Association.  He served as President of the Mid-Atlantic Central of American Rabbis, President of the Hampton Roads Board of Rabbis, President of the Norfolk Clergy Association and was a board member of the Jewish Family Service, the Beth Sholom Home, the Theophilus Club and the United Jewish Federation.  Rabbi Forman served on Governor Charles Robb’s Commission on the future of Virginia and on Governor Gerald Baliles’ Virginia – Israel Commission.


The Rabbi helped in creating the Howard and Georgeanna Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, and was a member of the ethics committee for Eastern Virginia Medical School.  Active in intrafaith and interfaith activities, the rabbi was a strong unifying force in bringing many diverse elements of the community together, creating a United Hebrew School, and a cooperative unity between Christians and Jews.  He also served as the Chairperson of the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council for the Norfolk Public Schools for 17 years.  His three daughters were Valedictorians and his son was Salutatorian of Lake Taylor High School.  They went on to graduate from M.I.T., Brandeis, Yale, and the University of Virginia, Columbia University and the Hebrew Union College.  Julie is a scientist, Joe and Sharon are Rabbis, and Alisa is a Cantor.


Rabbi Forman served Ohef Sholom Temple with distinction for thirty years as Senior Rabbi.  After retiring, he founded the Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding at Old Dominion University.  He is currently serving as the Jewish Chaplain for the Veteran’s Medical Center of Hampton Roads, and is gathering his writings to serve as an inspirational motivation for people of all faiths.


While teaching at ODU, Rabbi Forman became the faculty advisor to the Turkish Muslim-Rumi Forum Better Understanding Club, and continues to conduct many interfaith dialogue sessions between Christian, Muslims, Catholics, and Jews.  He is also on the Advisory Board for Smart Beginnings of Hampton Roads to promote the pre-school education and advancement of all children under the age of 5.