Video: Rav Grossman Leads ‘Shema Yisroel’ and ‘Am Yisroel Chai’ at MSG


rav-grossman1[Video below.] As first reported here yesterday, New York’s basketball team’s 106-91 victory over the Israeli Maccabi’s Euroleague team – in a game whose proceeds went to benefit Rav Yitzchok Dovid Grossman’s mosad, Migdal Ohr – featured a bizarre delay in the third quarter when the visiting coach refused to leave after he was ejected.

The game was halted about 8 minutes when Pini Gershon continued to linger near Maccabi’s bench – a delay that included Rav Grossman trying to intervene by asking the NBA’s replacement referees calling the game to allow Gershon to stay.

“I explained that this is not a regular game and the kids are watching and [it’s] important that there will be peace and forgive him,” Rav Grossman said of his discussions with the officials. “If you forgive him, I can speak to the children and say, ‘You also forgive. If you have a fight, you forgive.’ But he says this is the law, that you must obey.”

Gershon eventually left after a lengthy discussion with the referees, his assistant coaches and NBA security personnel. A security official said Gershon told them he didn’t care if the game was stopped before he eventually agreed to leave.

“He likes the crowd, the crowd likes him very much,” Maccabi’s Yaniv Green said. “They’re coming to the game to see him even more than they’re coming to see us. He’s quite a character, like you saw today.”

Apparently frustrated by the officiating, Maccabi picked up four technical fouls, including two on Gershon in a 53-second span of the third quarter.

With fans chanting “Macc-ab-i!”, Gershon didn’t seem to be listening to any of the basketball officials. Once the appeal from Rav Grossman failed, Gershon finally exited.

“I’ve never experienced that before, but I mean there’s a first time for everything I guess,” said a New York player, who approached the Maccabi bench in an attempt to figure out what was happening.

A Maccabi official said Gershon would not comment, and the NBA is not allowing the replacement officials to comment during the preseason. The regular staff is locked out during a labor dispute.

Gershon declined to comment after the game, even though he could have freely criticized the officials without fear of retribution from the league.

“He’s a big person in European basketball, and he probably felt like he was being disrespected,” said Maccabi player Maciej Lampe.

While Gershon argued on one side of the court, the Knicks seemed mostly confused on the other. They stood around their bench waiting. So one player decided to find out if basketball was going to resume and worked his way into the argument.

“I was over there just trying to figure out what was up,” said the player, who added that the coach and Rav Grossman”started speaking a different language,” which was Hebrew.

“It threw me off,” Robinson said. “I needed a translator.”

In the stands, a vocal majority of yellow-clad Maccabi fans among the 14,602 inside the Garden began chanting emphatically. All afternoon, they had made it feel like a home game for Maccabi – much the way the fans did when Maccabi last played at the Garden two years ago in front of 18,000 fans. They waved Israeli flags and belted soccer-style songs.

When Gershon ultimately left, storming down the tunnel, the fans became even louder.

“Sometimes, somebody makes a mistake,”Rav Grossman said.

 Migdal Ohr is the world’s largest orphanage.

For video of Rav Grossman leading the crowd in Shema Yisroel and Am Yisroel Chai at halftime, click below:

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{Yair Israel/Noam Newscenter}


  1. Sports was originally a Greek thing. I don’t think any of the Tannaim or Amoraim played sports. Also, they don’t play basketball in heaven.

  2. Rav Grossman is someone unique. He knows what he is doing, and does what is right even if that involves pioneering. People now may not know what things he did for the sake of kiruv, the most demeaning, difficult to do things. He had gevaldege hatzlochoh. This is only one thing that makes him extremely special.

    Now, there are rebbes, reportedly, that are asking him to consider becoming the next chief rabbi probably because he is beloved by many segments of the population, even though, again reportedly, he refused to do that when offered twice before.

    The man is a walking Mekadesh Hashem and Me’ahev Hashem. Ashreihu ve’ashrei moladetoh.