Father Gabriel Grossman OP, was an important presence in the Jerusalem community for many years.


He was born in Germany on February 21, 1931. His father was a Jew and his mother a Christian. The family survived the Shoah, fleeing and hiding. The family, father, mother and two children, found refuge first in Switzerland and then in France. Gabriel’s mother was active in the resistance and did much to save Jews during the darkest days, when his father was obliged to stay in hiding.

Gabriel entered the Dominican order in Lyons, France and studied philosophy and theology there, eventually receiving ordination to the priesthood. Thereafter, he specialized in scientific studies. He arrived in Israel in 1967 and was sent to live in Isaiah House in Jerusalem with the community of Dominicans who directed the Jewish study center there. After perfecting his Hebrew in an ulpan, he registered at Hebrew University to do a doctorate in chemistry. After a short time, he started to study Jewish Thought and specialized in the Hebrew language. Over time, he became an expert in Judaism in all its forms and his brothers in the monastery would call him, “the Rabbi”.

In the 1970s, Father Gabriel collaborated with Brother Yohanan Elihai and a group of Protestants and Messianic Jews in the project of translating the New Testament into modern Hebrew. Likewise, Father Gabriel translated other texts into Hebrew including the Rule of Saint Benedict for his friends in Tel Gamaliel, near Beit Shemesh.

One of the members of the Hebrew-speaking Catholic community remembers Father Gabriel as “a good man who helped many people and all kinds of youth who came to him for encouragement and for the love of God. They would come until the small hours of the morning and he gave himself without limit (…) In conversation with someone who opposed him he would listen carefully without stopping him in the middle, and only at the end would he say, softly and patiently, his “but” without yielding and yet with wisdom and good heartedness."

In 1991, Father Gabriel underwent serious surgery and when he had recuperated sufficiently he went to visit his elderly mother in Germany. There he died after a severe heart attack leaving deep sorrow and much nostalgia behind him. May his memory be blessed!