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March 27, 1987 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-03-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Rabbi Fram

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16 Friday, March 27, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-5
Thursday 10-8

352-8622

Rabbi Fram, 91, died in
his sleep Monday night at
Borman Hall Jewish Home
for the Aged where he had
been a resident the last three
years. Temple Israel was the
site of his funeral service and
a memorial service Thursday.
An ardent Zionist since
he made a trip to Palestine in
1924, his hiring by Temple
Beth El that year as associ-
ate rabbi and education di-
rector led to years of rifts
with the temple's senior
rabbi, Dr. Leo Franklin, an
ardent anti-Zionist. Accord-
ing to Myron Steinberg, a
former member of Beth El
who became one of the found-
ers of Temple Israel, Dr.
Franklin's approaching re-
tirement in 1941 led to a
split in the congregation. "In
June of that year," Steinberg
recalled, "after Rabbi
Franklin announced his re-
tirement, a major meeting of
the congregation was held" to
debate Fram's status as asso-
ciate rabbi. Confirming that
status would mean that he
would replace Dr. Franklin.
In reality, the controversy
was over Fram's Zionism, ac-
cording to Philip Slomovitz,
Jewish News editor emeritus,
and many felt the meeting
was a slap at Fram. Within a
month, 60-65 Beth El mem-
bers broke away and decided
to form their own temple
with Fram as rabbi. Leaders
of the new congregation in-
cluded Morris Garvet, Ben
Jaffe, Harry Grossman and
Max Osnos.
Ironically, said Steinberg,
in December 1941, Beth El
members selected pro-Zionist
Rabbi B. Benedict Glazer to
succeed Franklin.
The new Temple Israel
congregation held services at
a building owned by Max
Osnos at Grand Boulevard
and Woodward, later moving
to the Detroit Institute of
Arts auditorium and to Park
Street downtown. It built its
own facility on Manderson in
Palmer Park in 1951 before
moving in recent years to
Walnut Lake Road in West
Bloomfield. The temple now
has more than 1,900 families.
Frank Simons, Temple Is-
rael administrator for the
past 25 years, said the temple
"was Rabbi Fram's dedica-
tion, his life. He had no fam-
ily, so the people, the congre-
gation, comprised his family."
Fram never married. He had
four brothers and sisters who
are deceased, but he re-
mained close with his nieces
and nephews around the
country.
Born in Lithuania, an elder
sister paid for Fram's passage
to Baltimore when he was a
youngster. He had an interest
in chemistry and attended
Johns Hopkins with the in-
tent of becoming a scientist.
Raised as an Orthodox Jew, a

rabbi stirred old ideas in
Fram and he enrolled at He-
brew Union College in Cin-
cinnati. He was a classmate
of Louis Schostak, who
founded Schostak Brothers
real estate firm in Detroit.
Simons described Fram as
"dynamic as ever" until he
had stomach surgery for an
ulcer four years ago. "He was
lucid almost to the end, but
was weak and had no pep or
energy. He was an avid
reader until the last six
months." -
Rabbi Fram's influence ex-
tended far beyond Zionist cir-
cles, although in that regard
he was a pioneer in Reform
ranks. He made an impact on

Rabbi Fram was a
pioneering Zionist
in Reform ranks in
the United States.

the city at large through his
civic activities, and was a
friend of Mayor Frank Mur-
phy and Governor G. Mennen
Williams. During the 1930s
Fram was a staunch foe of
the anti-Semitism spouted by
Father Charles Coughlin of
the Shrine of the Little
Flower in Royal Oak. "He
opposed him bitterly in the
press," Simons recalled. "He
didn't have a radio show like
Coughlin, but he did what-
ever he could."
He was a founder of the
League for Human Rights of
Michigan and was an execu-
tive board member of the De-
troit Interfaith Roundtable.
He chaired the Michigan Fair
Election Campaign Practices
Commission and was
president of the Detroit Pub-
lic Library Commission. He
was also a board member of
the Michigan Association for
Emotionally Disturbed Chil-
dren and served on the
Commission to Investigate
Equal Educational Oppor-
tunities in the Detroit Public
Schools.
In Jewish affairs he was
active with the Jewish Com-
munity Council, the Ameri-
can Jewish Congress, the
Michigan Association of Re-
form Rabbis and the Rabbini-
cal Commission of. Detroit.
He served as a president of
the Zionist organization of
Detroit and on the executive
board of the Zionist organiza-
tion of Amrica.
One of his longest associa-
tions was with the Union of
American Hebrew Congrega-
tions (Reform) Commission
on Synagogue Education. He
was named a life member
after 50 years' service and
enjoyed translating his love
of reading into selecting
books for national publication
by the UAHC.
Rabbi M. Robert Sym6,

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