Honoring a Great Man, Grossman


Rabbi Azaryah Cohen presents our departing Head of School with an artwork designed by Rabbi Azaryah Cohen and Dr. Michelle Sider in Rabbi Grossman's honor.

Rabbi Azaryah Cohen presents our departing Head of School with an artwork designed by Rabbi Azaryah Cohen and Dr. Michelle Sider in Rabbi Grossman’s honor.

On Friday, June 5, after an honors ceremony (“the Academy Awards”) recognizing some of the brightest accomplishments among our student body this year, the FJA community gathered to honor a man who has made those accomplishments possible, who has brought FJA from strength to strength for the 14 years he has served here, first as a Bible instructor and later as our second Head of School, taking over for our founding Head of School Rabbi Lee Buckman.  Before he leaves to become top banana at The Ramaz School in New York, Rabbi Grossman was fêted with speeches and videos recognizing his passionate devotion to FJA, his tremendous skill at teaching (and his unique approach thereto), and his love for the writings and traditions of the Jewish people, which he has heartily endeavored to transmit to every passing generation of students at our school.

At the ceremony, Rabbi Grossman was presented with a lovely canvas decorated with a Talmudic passage (inscribed by Director of Jewish Studies Rabbi Margrett), featuring musings from current students, and surrounded by images (including a prominent Darth Vader head) representing his passions, painted by Visual Arts Instructor Dr. Michelle Sider.  The Torontonian rabbi was also given a book, organized by his assistant Mrs. Audrey Trethewey, filled with heartfelt tributes written and submitted by FJA students, staff, alumni, and community members.  David Weinfeld ’12 revived his much-lauded impersonation of the scholar and leader, this time  in a video wherein Rabbi Grossman teaches Acting Head of School Rabbi Azaryah Cohen the proper Head of School posture (“chest out, head up, the only movement you make is a slight nod to students”) and sneaks around the school taking things as keepsakes (including a bowling pin, which he calls a “baseball bat”).

But more than Rabbi Grossman has taken (even in a parody video), he has given.  And in honor of all that he has given, Board Vice President Mr. Bill Sider announced at the ceremony a new scholarship to be endowed in Rabbi Grossman’s name.  Writes Mr. Sider, “The Rabbi Grossman Scholarship has been established to recognize the unique contributions that Rabbi Grossman has provided to the students of FJA over the last 14 years.  Commencing in 2016, a scholarship of $5,000 will be awarded each year to one or more graduating seniors of FJA, to help defray the costs of future study and endeavor, whether at college, gap year, yeshiva, or IDF service.”  To honor Rabbi Grossman by donating to this scholarship fund, please visit this webpage or contact Director of Annual Giving Mrs. Annie K. Chi (achi@frankelja.org) with any questions.

In his remarks to close the ceremony, Rabbi Grossman, through tears of great emotion, spoke of his childhood dream to one day be a teacher.  He thanked FJA for allowing that dream to come to such extraordinary fruition.  We thank him for shepherding our dream, of open and enlightened Jewish education in Detroit, and making of it such an enduring reality.