Monday, July 7, 2008

Australian Memories


COL

Reb Yitzchok Dovid Groner was Niftar today in Melbourne at the age of 82. What I remember of Rabbi Groner is spending time with him in Eretz Yisroel when he visited for a Simcha in 5752. I can still hear him singing like Pinye Althaus now, remembering the times the Frierdige Rebbe would ask Pinye to sing. Rabbi Groner was a talmid of Chaim Berlin before leaving to Lubavitch in 1940, and I'm inclined to think that his leadership style may have been learned from Rav Hutner...

Here's what a commenter on Yeshiva World remembered about him and Chabad in general in Australia many moons ago.

I was in Yeshiva College in Melbourne from 1957 till 1967. I remember Rabbi Groner very well. May I be corrected - I believe he was the first American born Lubavitcher in Australia.

The other emissaries of the Rebbe were Russian born Lubavitchers who would regale us with true life stories of the hardships of being a frum Jew in Communist Russia - if not czarist Russia. Reb Zalman Serebransky - the fines Yid you could meet - and the one who got me started as a little boy on snuff on Shabbos; and sons Arel and Chaim.

And the 6.00 am minyan in Yeshiva that I would go to with my father- where I got sick of alchohol at an early age- from drinking too much slivovitz (with herring) too early in the morning after minyan. And Reb Gurevitch who danced on Simchas Torah like no other person I have seen - somersaults and all - Lechvod Hatorah. Rav Perlov - who was the Posek. My Father used to take him to the Adas Yisroel (Hungarian Kehilla) mikveh on Friday mornings before 6 a.m. I would tag along for the “dip”. My Mother used to buy fish for him and his Rebbetzin - which I remember bringing to their house. Rav Klugant - one of my Rebbes in Yeshiva. And Rav Althaus who had a Hotel(Chedva) in the Dandenong Mountains- about 25 miles out of Melbourne. Our family went there for Rosh Hashonah one year.

These were the finest, Emes'dike Yidden I have met.(Please my current friends - do not take offense - I am reminiscing)
They loved you with all their heart. Even when Reb Arel Serebranski would pat me on the shoulder in the school playgrounds (to check if I was wearing my Tzitzis!!!)it was done with love and sincerity. It was a beautiful place to grow up and live, having these Yidden as my first Yiddishe memories as a child. Thank you Rabbi Groner for helping create a Mokom for me to go to school and a place to Daven.

Abie Ross

22 comments:

schneur said...

I remember Rabbi Groner when he was the official bochen of the Ache Tmimmim school syasytem and I recall him coming to NH on 2 occassions to examine the various classes. Then we were told that he was off to Australia.
Was he born in the US or in Palestine ?
His father married into the Slonim family , but bimekoro was a karliner if I am not mistaken.
Zecher zaddik Livrocho

Hirshel Tzig said...

Palestine, yes.
Father was a Karliner B'Mekor, related to the Grossmans. They're from Bais Horav, descended from the Alter Rebbe.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Groner a'h was born in New York.
I remember Abe Ross well, and he has described something that was very special about Rabbi Groner. A man that was way above defining or encapsulating by any single characteristic or personality.
His absolute p'shitas will be evident at the levaya in Melbourne on Wednesday.

SHIMON said...

Anonymous 10:18,
Abe Ross actually said nothing about Rabbi Groner besides that he was the first American born Lubavitcher in Australia, the rest of his post was describing the older Russian Lubavitchers.
Sheesh!, is it so difficult to understand plain English?

Isaac Balbin said...

http://www.cs.rmit.edu.au/~isaac/RabbiGroner.pdf

Mottel said...

Isaac -I need to get in contact with you ASAP. My e-mail can be found on my blogger profile (or if for whatever reason you want, can be sent to you by Tzig -he knows it).

Harry Maryles said...

My my my.

Hirshil, I can't believe you allowed the comments on this post:

http://theantitzemach.blogspot.com/2006/12/harry-maryles-wants-us-to-come-home.html

I just happened to find it when I googled another subject.

Aren't you worried about exposure? You forget, I know your identity. I can expose you faster than you can say Telshe Yeshiva.

The comments there about me and my friend - the rabbi of that small midwestern city - are nothing but a pack lies and distortions. They are so ridiculous that they actually made me laugh!

Is this how Lubavitch operates? When they don't like what someone says - they smear him with a bunch of lies?!

And... the fact that you actually believe any of them surprises me - I know you to be an honorbale person.

I stongly suggest that you delete all those comments!

Be well, my friend and regards to your father.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I don't think you'd betray the trust I placed in you by "exposing" me. Besides, those comments are almost 2 years old!

Harry Maryles said...

I would never betray your trust. You are a good man. But I still can't believe you so cavalierly allowed those disgusting comments ...and even believed them.

I don't even ask for an apology. I do ask however to delete those comments. It is the honorable thing to do. They are nothing but lies and distortions.

Anonymous said...

What a Hadras Ponim! Zichrono Livrocho.

schneur said...

If the deceased left RCB in 1940, when did rav Hutner arrive in RCB ? in order for the deceased to have picked up his leadership style ?

Hirshel Tzig said...

sometime between 1935–1936 (Hutner) was appointed first as a teacher then as principal of the newly established high school division of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin known as Mesivta Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin.

From Wiki.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I wonder if CBT knew RYDG from CB.....

Anonymous said...

Who is CBT?

Hirshel Tzig said...

Chaim Berlin Tragedy, a frequent commenter here.

Anonymous said...

it would be remiss for a post about R groner, to not mention the rayim ahuvim shtiebel....

Chaim Berlin tragedy said...

In over 30 years of listening to hundreds of Chaim Berliners talk and tell their tales about themselves and the yeshiva, and of those that knew Rav Yitzchok Dovid Groner (RYDG) zt"l from his old days in Cb yeshiva, never once did I ever hear a bad word said about him.

On the contrary, those CBers who knew him were proud of him and his achievements in Australia and they regarded him as a lamden vos ken lernen.

This was probably due to a number of factors: That He was talmid of Rav Hutner (RYH) from his early tekufa when CB was a yeshiva that was a much more open and open-minded place: RYH loved talmidim from all walks of life, some came from the Conservative's JTS, some were from Chasidishe homes, most from modern Americanized parents, and RYH and the faculty at CB in those days were world class and very welcoming as long as talmidim wanted to shteig and become great in Torah and avoda.

RYH had a soft spot for the entire Groner family and in fact deeply loved Rav Shimon Groner (RSG) zt"l, a close cousin of RYDG and of the Rebbe's secretary Rabbi Laibel Groner, and eventually appointed RSG as head of Camp Morris, maggid shiur in the CB bais medrash where he also functioned as a ba'al hora'ah and posek, and then ordered him to take over as mashgiach ruchani after the ouster of RSC, which RSG dutifully but reluctantly did for 25 years until the last day of his life. While RSG himself was not personally in favor Chabad but he retained close and warm family connections with his Chabad cousins. Yehi Zichro baruch.

RYH's attitude to Chabad is complex, but his appreciation of and respect for the entire Groner family reveals a respectful, humane and kind approach to the very notable Groner Chabad family. Unfortunately and tragically this tradition has now been lost forever in CB under its current administration.

Anonymous said...

how much could rabbi groner have learned leadership skills from rav hutner when in 1940 he was at most a young bochur?

Milhouse said...

Did Rabbi Groner leave YRCB for TTL immediately in 1940, or perhaps a few years later? When TTL started up in NYC, did it even cater for such young bochurim?

By the way, someone who's not a Lubav, and didn't know that R Groner ever went to YRCB, independently commented that R Groner's style reminded him of R Hutner's.

Ya'acov Livni said...

"how much could rabbi groner have learned leadership skills from rav hutner when in 1940 he was at most a young bochur?"

The answer is simple: As much as so many others have learned from Rabbi Y. D. Groner, also as young bochurim!

When someone wants to learn a derech, and someone else can show the way, then nothing need stop the learning.

Anonymous said...

Es serio? No!~ Es no posible!

Abie said...

Abie Ross again. (abieross@gmail.com)
Hashem has His wondrous ways. From a life in Australia and in Lubavitch till 1967, I went to Shor Yoshuv and was surely merited to be with Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld till I moved to Lakewood Nj in 1987
From one Chaim Berliner to another - Rabbi Freifeld was THE Talmid of Rav Hutner. And now B"H" I have the Zechus to (work on being) a talmid of Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi in Lakewood NJ for the last 22 years.

Abie Ross