The Shalom Hartman Institute’s beit midrash on Monday morning swelled with those who came to pay tribute to Rabbi David Hartman, a philosopher and pillar of liberal Orthodoxy who founded the Jerusalem institution as a beacon of pluralism in a religiously divided city and Jewish world.
Hartman passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. His son, Donniel Hartman, who took over from his father as the president of the Hartman Institute, said he suffered from diabetes and congestive heart disease, and his death came after long-term illness. Following the service, Hartman was buried at Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem.
Remembered as an open-minded scholar who grappled with tradition for answers to the challenges of modernity, three of his five children and three of his students spoke about his contributions to the Jewish world. US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat attended the service.
Donniel Hartman spoke about his rationalist father who grew up impoverished as a visionary who never allowed “kacha zeh” [that’s how it is], an expression he reviled, to limit his determination to make a better reality in Israel and for the Jewish people. His “abba,” he repeated throughout his talk, always supported him, debated him and was his partner.