Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman
Rabbi Grossman
Began 1968
Personal details
Born September 1946
Nationality Israeli
Residence Migdal Ha'Emek
Parents Rabbi Israel Grossman
Children 5
Occupation Chief Rabbi

Yitzchak Dovid Grossman (Hebrew: יצחק דוד גרוסמן) (also known as the "Disco Rabbi") born September 1946 is the Chief Rabbi of Migdal Ha'Emek, founder and president of Migdal Ohr, and member of the Chief Rabbinate Council.

The beginning

Grossman is a sixth generation Jerusalemite, born in 1946. A dramatic turning point in his life occurred in 1968 when he decided to move to the Lower Galilee town of Migdal Ha'Emek to provide the socio-humanitarian aid sorely needed there.

Migdal Ha'Emek had been established in 1953 as a development town designed to accommodate part of the great influx of Jewish immigrants from the North African countries. The town's population grew in size much faster than the evolving socio-economic and educational infrastructure. The resulting shortage of jobs and lack of sufficient school facilities and teachers had a devastating effect on the inhabitants. Migdal Ha'Emek quickly became known as one of the prime centers of criminal activity in Israel.

Grossman's arrival on the scene was without fanfare. He had no welcoming committee and no mandate from the people or from the administration. He also had no budget nor staff or even an office. He joined in the conversations of idle youth hanging out on the street corners and, after gaining their confidence, began organizing private classes for them. But he knew that to get to the core of the problem, he would have to tackle it at its roots.

Grossman became a steady and frequent visitor at the town's discothèques and pubs, engaging the young clientele in dialogues. Slowly but surely the tough exteriors began to peel away and there began to surface the gentle side of the members of the new generation searching for their true identity.

The painstaking work was beginning to meet with significant achievements and public recognition. Grossman's reputation as "The Disco Rabbi" had been firmly set in the minds of the general public in all of Israel who received regular reports from the communications media. He began visiting prisoners in Israel's jails giving them words of encouragement and providing them with young Rabbi's to teach them the beauty of the Torah way of life.

Though official statistics showed that criminal activity began a downtrend in Migdal Ha'Emek, the town's residents didn't need statistics to show them how much the situation had improved. The cleaned-up atmosphere helped entice entrepreneurs to set up factories in the town's industrial zone and the unemployed regained their pride as jobs became available.

Successful achievements and public recognition

In 1966, Grossman received his Rabbinical ordination. In 1969, only one year after Rabbi Grossman's arrival in Migdal Ha'Emek, he was unanimously elected to the position of Chief Rabbi of Migdal Ha'Emek, with lifetime tenure.
At age 23 he had thus become the youngest municipal Chief Rabbi in all of Israel.

File:Migdal-Ohe 2009

In 1972, Rabbi Grossman founded Migdal Ohr (Tower of Light). He began by caring for 18 orphaned and impoverished children, but the enterprise grew swiftly, its success surpassing all expectations. Before long, Migdal Ohr's educational and individualized approach to nurturing and motivating children had become a recognized model for turning street kids into scholars, professionals, and happy, productive citizens.

His charity work helps some 6,000 immigrants and orphans find a life outside crime, drugs, and alcohol. [1]

At the national religious level, he was elected and subsequently re-elected as a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council - a body consisting of a handful of select municipal Chief Rabbi's which serves to advise Israel's Chief Rabbinate.

At the public service level, he has visited Egypt and has held meetings with Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Mohammed Bassiouny regarding certain aspects of the relations between Israel and Egypt.

In 2008, On Israel's 60th Independence Day celebration, Rabbi Grossman was honored to lit the first torch at the formal ceremony on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl. [2]


In 1983, Rabbi Grossman was presented with the Coveted Love of Israel award by the President of Israel, Mr. Chaim Herzog. It was a prize he well deserved. The dignitaries who attended the ceremony underlined Rabbi Grossman's unselfish, indiscriminate dedication to every single Jew, regardless of his stature or his religious or political commitments.


Accepting an Award from The Minister of Education (2008)

In March 1991, as a result of a nationwide survey, Migdal Ohr was awarded the Nivchar Heosar ("Best of the Decade") award and was acclaimed as the best educational network in Israel for the past ten years.

In October 1991, Rabbi Grossman was chosen to be honored with the Tolerance Prize at a special ceremony in the Israeli Parliament. In the presence of prominent Government officials, the prize was presented by the Chairman of the Knesset, Mr. Dov Shilansky. Rabbi Grossman's accomplishments for the benefit of Israeli society, especially the underprivileged segment, were highly praised.

In 2004, Rabbi Grossman was awarded the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievement and special contribution to society and the State of Israel[3][4], and for the success and acclaim attained by the Migdal Ohr Educational Institutions.

In 2006, Rabbi Grossman was awarded the "Honorary Doctorate" degree by Bar-Ilan University for the contribution to the University, and for helping in promoting the University's goals.

Future plans

Today, Migdal Ohr is a Tower of Light, not only for Migdal Ha'Emek and the Galilee, but for all the children of Israel under the inspirational leadership of its Founder and Leader, Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman.

Rabbi Grossman is effectively rebuilding the Jewish nation which the Nazis tried so hard to destroy (Prime Minister Ariel Sharon)

See also article about Rabbi Grossman in the Jerusalem Post, Oct 6, 2006 [1]


Grossman is the uncle of Rivka Holtzberg, co-director of the Nariman House Chabad center, who was murdered in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.


External links


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