Australia’s Chabad Leader Dies


THE leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Australia, Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, died on Monday morning after a lengthy illness.

It is expected that he will be buried in Israel alongside members of his family, but a memorial service will be organised in Melbourne in his honour.

Rabbi Groner, 83, arrived in Melbourne in 1958 from the United States as the head shaliach (emissary) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

He built up the Chabad community to its current sizeable population.

The Chabad community now includes the 1000-student Yeshivah and Beth Rivkah Colleges, the Yeshivah Gedolah and countless Chabad synagogues and learning institutions around Melbourne.

Rabbi Groner’s children are continuing his work in spreading Yiddishkeit. His sons lead Chabad House of Glen Eira and Ohel Devorah and his daughter and her husband run Chabad House of Malvern.

His son-in-law, Rabbi Zvi Telsner, was appointed assistant rabbi of Yeshivah during Rabbi Groner’s illness.

Rabbi Groner’s work has been acknowledged across the Jewish and general communities.

On the occasion of his 80th birthday, then Prime Minister John Howard said “his service to the spiritual needs of countless members of the Jewish community, as rabbi, mentor, counsellor, or friend, has seen him develop the enviable reputation as the people’s rabbi”.

About Luke Ford

Raised a Seventh-Day Adventist at Avondale College in Australia, Luke Ford moved to California in 1977. He graduated from Placer High School in 1984, reported the news at KAHI/KHYL radio for three years, attended Sierra College and UCLA, was largely bedridden by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for six years, and converted to Judaism in 1993. From 1997-2007, Luke made his living from blogging. Living by Beverly Hills (, he now teaches the Alexander Technique (moving the way the body likes to move). Lessons cost $100 each and last about 45 minutes. In 2011, Luke completed a three-year teaching course at the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles. His personal Alexander Technique website is Luke is the author of five books, including: » The Producers: Profiles in Frustration » Yesterday’s News Tomorrow: Inside American Jewish Journalism
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