Listen here for Chesped on Nachman Bulman (1925-2002) (i was there and Rav Mendel Weinbach Tz’l really expressed the loss of a path for us all) was an American rabbi associated with Orthodox Judaism. He was born to Rabbi Meir and Etil Bulman after a blessing from the Rebbe of Ger, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter. He grew up on the Lower East Side, Manhattan, and was, for a brief period, part of the circle of the Rebbe of Modzitz, remaining close to the Rebbe until the latter’s death.
He studied at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), where obtained his semicha (“rabbinical ordination”). Turning down offers from various communities because of inadequate standards, he eventually accepted a position in Danville, Virginia, which had a small Jewish community that he served for three years. Subsequently he served as a synagogue rabbi and Jewish educator in number of cities in the United States for most of his life. In 1975 he moved to northern Israel and served as rabbi in Migdal HaEmek. During the last few years of his life he served as rabbi of the Nachliel Synagogue in Neve Yaakov, Jerusalem, where he resided at the time of his death.
Rabbi Bulman was a student of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik at Yeshiva University where he received his rabbinic ordination. However, in terms of religious ideology, Bulman chose to follow and be identified with Agudath Israel of
America, one of Haredi Judaism’s largest movements. He referred to himself as a disciple of Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov. At a later stage in his life, Bulman sometimes dressed in the style typical of Gerrer Hasidim, even donning a spodik in his later years, on the Sabbath and holidays.
He was a popular teacher, lecturer, writer, translator of Hebrew language works into English, and builder of Jewish communities in both America and Israel.
In the late 1970s, he taught in Israel at Yeshivat Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem serving as its mashgiach ruchani and continued to serve in that capacity after he established a community in Migdal HaEmek. He was seen as a great
visionary and was known for understanding modern political events through the lens of timeless Torah wisdom. Often he would compare the events of the weekly Haftorah with current events in his sermons. He was also a great student of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s teachings and would sometimes incorporate those teachings into his lectures.
After leaving Migdal HaEmek, Bulman lived in Maalot Dafna, Jerusalem andtaught at Ohr Sameyach. In 1996 he founded a Beis Midrash, Nachlas Tzvi, in Telzstone, named after the writings of R. Hirsch. He strove to teach immigrants and others how to function within Israeli Haredi society without losing their individual identities. During the final three years of his life he lived in Neve Yaakov, a northern neighborhood of Jerusalem, where he founded Bais Medrash Nachliel, and where Kollel Nachmani was established in his memory.
He translated the books The Book of Our Heritage, Jew and His Home and Rite and Reason to English. His name was often written as Nathan Bulman in English.
5 comments to Tenth Yahrzeit of Rav Nachman Bulman zt”l
dovid landesmanJuly 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm
I would humbly like to add my name to those who consider themselves as having been positively influenced by Rav Bulman zt”l. I had the good fortune to live near him during his years in Migdal Ha-Emek and often made the trip from Kfar Chassidim on a motzaei Shabbat or during the week to “pick” his mind. And what a delectably eclectic mind it was. Was there another Torah personality who was made up of so many different influences; from Rav Soloveitchik, to Rav Hirsch, to Sfas Emes and Izbhitz. Chaval al d’avdin … yehi zichro baruch.
David S. ShawelJuly 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm
Although it has been over 50 years since my upbringing in Newport News, Va. my memory of the Rav is still so vividly clear to me as it was just yesterday.
He was the one who spoke to our souls. That is why his teachings and style of teaching is not easily forgotten. May our memory of him be a blessing to his soul.
YEAJuly 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Interestingly, the only really regular contributors to this blog that consistently take a centrist view which does not just parrot whatever the Charedi world tells them to say and think are Rabbis Adlerstein and Rosenblum. Rabbi Dovid Landesman similarly is reliable to provide a balanced view free of extremism whenever he does contribute, and Rabbis Leff and Malinowitz both publicly supported Rabbi Slifkin when he was banned.
Shoshanah Weiss-KostJuly 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm
I feel privileged to have known Rav Bulman when I lived in his kehilla in the 1980′s.
His depth of understanding and his vision for a better and more unified Klal Yisrael are etched on my mind and heart. It was an honor to know such a Torah scholar,thinker and writer.
Yehoshua FriedmanJuly 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm
I was not privileged to have had a long relationship with Rav Bulman zt”l. However, when I was invited in 1990 to travel to America to participate in a Bnai Noach conference in Texas, I preceded my trip with what turned out to be a very long and significant telephone consultation with the rav. His wisdom, clarity, patience, realism and many more wonderful midos came home to me from that conversation. The experience of having communicated with someone truly great is with me to this day.Recognized as one of the leading Jewish thinkers and writers in our generation, Rabbi Bulman, ztl was Dean of Students at Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem and had been at the forefront of Jewish education in Israel and America for five decades. His brilliant lectures inspired, energized and instilled a desire to learn more.
Here’s one of his fellow Rabbonim who also inspired me beyond words 🙂