Featured Member of the Month
Month of Shvat
Name: Dr. Morley Grossman
Location: Mission Viejo, CA (as of 2015; originally of Edinburg, TX and Anaheim, CA)
Occupation: Retired Professor of Piano at the University of Texas, in Edinburg, Texas.
About me: I grew up in Anaheim, CA where our family attended a conservative synagogue. When my wife and I moved to Edinburg, we affiliated with a reform synagogue (as that was the only option) and often traveled to my wife's home in Baltimore, MD for the holidays. My wife comes from a family that has always been active in Jewish causes and their involvement stimulated my own Jewish impulses and neshama. Eventually, we dropped our local affiliation and depended entirely on our Baltimore connections to satisfy our spiritual needs. It happened that, when Rabbi Asher Hecht and his wife Dina opened a Chabad center in Edinburg five years ago, my wife and I had just retired from our positions. After meeting the rabbi, we became instant fans. The rabbi dubbed me his "chassid" and my wife and I devoted ourselves completely to the needs of Chabad of Rio Grande Valley (where Edinburg is situated). In so doing, our spiritual souls were attended to. This proved to be an intensely rewarding experience.
An interesting/unusual hobby: First and foremost, I enjoy spending most of my time at Chabad of Rio Grande Valley, helping out with whatever needs to be done. As a retired professor, I was able to help leverage meetings for officials with Rabbi Hecht. I also helped out with the Tefillin group in Edinburg. Nonetheless, as a concert pianist, I've managed to find time for practice. Additionally, I like to read (the book, The Rebbe, is on my desk).
I've been learning with JNet since: 2013. I have the good fortune to learn Torah with Rabbi Rafi Steiner, who recently accepted a Chabad position on a university campus near Toronto, Canada. The association has been such a joyful and profitable one for me that I asked him if we could continue learning together after he relocated last month. He immediately agreed and, I must say, I can’t be happier!
How I heard about JNet: Our rabbi, Rabbi Hecht suggested that I seek out additional Torah learning via JNet. Am I ever grateful for the suggestion! My wife and I met Rabbi Steiner and his family personally at the Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens on the Rebbe's yartzeit a few months ago. This was something we both eagerly looked forward to and experienced as a joyful reunion.
The most meaningful thing I've learned with JNet: The selfless devotion and true personal interest my chavrusa has in me is most heartwarming. The Divine responsibility to love our fellow Jew has been very evident in these JNet learning sessions and brightens my day. It reminds me of how important this mitzvah is and inspires me to put it into practice whenever I can.
What I'm currently learning with my chavrusa: After spending our first year going through the weekly parsha with the Gutnick Chumash, I asked my chavrusa if we could continue with another study cycle of this subject. The vastness of Hashem's wisdom and the depth of and background to His instructions has made me realize how little I know.