LARGER THAN LIFE The Story of Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner OBMBooks > Australian Writers
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LARGER THAN LIFE
The Story of Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner OBM
By Chaim Mehlman
He was described by Isi Leibler, the past Senior Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, as the most outstanding leader Australian Jewry has ever had. Those who knew Rabbi Groner say that he was incomparable – a unique individual. When attempting to describe Rabbi Groner, the first thing almost everyone says is, ‘He was larger than life.’ This indicates that he was impossible to define. At the age of thirty-three, he was sent by the Rebbe, from his native New York to Melbourne for ‘three to five’ years and stayed his entire life! It could well be argued that Rabbi Groner had more to do with the strength of Judaism in Australia than any other individual.He was a man of immense compassion, who dedicated himself to his life’s work in the Australian Jewish community, without leaving room for his own needs; he was an orator, whose sincerity and passion could hold people spellbound; and he was a scholar and teacher, who could move people to change their lives. When dealing with your issues, he made you feel you were the most important person in his life at that moment. More people say, ‘I was special to him,’ than can be numbered.
Like all of us, Rabbi Groner had conflicts, faults and idiosyncrasies. In some ways, he could appear egotistical and autocratic, in others, humble and self-effacing. He seemed to radiate confidence, but inwardly he could be filled with self-doubt, often needing reassurance.
Some of his mistakes had far-reaching consequences. In the late 1980s and early 90s he failed to adequately protect and support victims of sexual abuse in his school. Some of the proceeds of this book will be dedicated to helping protect children from abuse.
There are countless biographies of great rabbis. Virtually all of them are filled exclusively with stories of their good qualities and deeds. This biography offers a comprehensive and honest insight into the achievements and failures of a truly great rabbi and a genuine human being.
It is an invigorating and inspiring read.
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