This past motzei Shabbos, parshas Matos-Mas'ei, at
1:00 A.M., thousands of pained and bereaved mourners from all
over Eretz Yisroel accompanied the seventy-seven year old
HaRav Nachman Bulman on his last earthly journey. Though he
had been ill for some time, his petiroh on Shabbos
kodesh was sudden and unexpected.
The levaya proceeded from the main beis medrash
of the Or Somayach yeshiva, where the niftar served as
a menahel ruchani for many years. The levaya
was attended by rabbonim and prominent communal leaders
including the Admor of Vishnitz.
HaRav Bulman was well known for his charisma and ability to
draw others closer to Torah, as well as for his pleasant and
fascinating delivery. His career of community service spanned
half a century, almost evenly divided between America and
He grew up in the Gerrer Shtiebel and the Polish Shteibel on
the Lower East Side and later in Williamsburg. As a youth he
also went to tishen of the Modzhitzer Rebbe, the Imrei
Shaul, who was in America for seven years. These experiences
left impressions that were visible throughout his life.
He went to school at the high school of Yeshiva University
and later to Yeshivas Rabbenu Yitzchok Elchonon (RIETS) and
Yeshiva College. His rebbeim during this period included
HaRav Moshe Bick, HaRav Moshe Poleyeff, HaRav Dovid Lifshitz
He was a rov in four communities in America: Danville,
Virginia, South Fallsburg, New York, Newport News, Virginia
and Far Rockaway, New York City. For a short time he was also
dean of men in Yeshiva University, and he was involved in
Torah Umesorah. When HaRav Aharon Kotler zt"l was
asked about involving him in Torah Umesorah, he reportedly
said, "Af der yungerman, ken men farlozzen. (You can
rely on that young man.)"
He was founding editor (for a year) of the Jewish
Observer and served on its editorial board for many
The ideas of HaRav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch were the main
molders of his thinking. He was especially concerned about
the proper exposition of Torah ideals in a modern,
intellectual idiom that would be understood and appreciated
by those who have a secular American background. From his
youth he was dedicated to kiruv rechokim, and
throughout his career it was an important concern of his. In
this too he was inspired by HaRav Hirsch. Purity of
hashkofos and sharp separation from compromisers was
also something that he was dedicated to.
His work brought him into close contact with HaRav Yitzchok
Hutner and HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky and other gedolim
of America. From around the middle 60s, he was one of the
most sought-after English speakers in the chareidi Aguda
world because of his gift for bringing Torah ideals to life
in English to those who had grown up in America.
He recognized the importance of education and was involved in
founding the day school in Newport News, Virginia, and in
establishing Soroh Schenirer Seminary in New York, and
Yeshivas Derech Ayson in Far Rockaway.
Soon after his arrival in Eretz Yisroel 27 years ago, HaRav
Bulman founded Kiryat Nachliel, an exemplary Torah community
in Migdal Ha'Emek, where he lived for several years and
influenced many to do teshuva. He later returned to
Yerushalayim where he was invited to serve as the menahel
ruchani of Or Somayach yeshiva.
HaRav Bulman was a man of deep feeling and a rare capacity to
convey this in speech. He was frequently asked to speak at
Torah events throughout the world. Former students can recall
his descriptions of personalities and historical incidents,
even many years later. He was one of the prominent lecturers
and guests at Agudas Yisroel conventions in the United
States, as well as at Torah gatherings all over the world.
In his years in Eretz Yisroel he was a central address for
the English-speaking community in Eretz Yisroel. Everyone,
from talmidei chachomim to young students, sought him
out for advice, insight and counsel.
In recent years HaRav Bulman suffered greatly from illness
and pain, and as a result, moved into an apartment near one
of his sons in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Yerushalayim.
His physical suffering though, did not prevent him from
disseminating Torah to the residents of the area, nor from
continuing to influence and teach many baalei teshuva,
sharing with them his vast knowledge and unique approach and
He is survived by his wife and by his five children, and many
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom are
following the path he charted for them.