Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid 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 HaEmek to provide the socio-humanitarian aid sorely needed there.
Migdal HaEmek 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 HaEmek quickly became known as one of the prime centers of criminal activity in Israel.
Rabbi Grossman’s arrival on the scene was without fanfare. He had no welcoming committee and no mandate from the people or from the administration. Furthermore, he 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.
Rabbi Grossman became a steady and frequent visitor at the town’s discotheques 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.