Community helps Grunbergers after accident


The St. Louis Jewish community has rallied around the Grunberger family who were involved in a serious car accident during Chol Hamoed Sukkot. Rabbi Elazar Grunberger, daughters Tehilla and Aviva, and sons Elisha, Chaim and Rafael Dovid were injured and taken to area hospitals. Brocha, the rabbi’s wife, and their oldest daughter and her children were traveling in a different car.

The outpouring of concern was immediate as word of the accident spread by phone and over the internet. Prayers, saying of tehillim (psalms) and study have been taking place around the world. Aish HaTorah educational director Rabbi Shmuel Greenwald is aware of more than 40 people who went to the Kotel in Jerusalem as well as groups saying tehillim in Baltimore, Seattle and New York.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people stepped forward to help the family,” family friend Albert Glassman of Aish HaTorah said. “They are taking shifts staying with the children, cooking food, shopping — anything that needs to be done.”

Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt of Agudas Israel had a service the evening of the accident. At the end of tehillim he asked for donations to be made to Aish HaTorah in z’chut (merit) of the family. Rabbi Greenblatt also sent members of his congregation over to Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Sha’arei Chesed on Simchat Torah where Rabbi Grunberger is the rabbi.

“He wanted to show support for the congregation since their rabbi could not be with them,” Rabbi Greenwald said. “Many other congregations throughout the community have put services together and said tehillim. There has been a large comprehensive desire to support the family.”

The community took on an immediate physical presence for the family following the accident as well. The children were in three separate hospitals and the parents couldn’t be everywhere according to Rabbi Greenwald. Friends sat at each of the hospitals so none of the family members would ever be alone. The nurses and doctors at the hospitals continue to be amazed by the strength of the community response, said Glassman.

“They are so moved and touched to see the heart of the community,” Glassman said. “It is such a beautiful thing.”

Rabbi Grunberger, Aviva, Elisha and Chaim have been released from the hospital and are continuing their recoveries at home. Tehilla is still in serious condition at SLU Hospital. Rafael Dovid is in critical condition at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

The community is urged to continue their prayers, saying tehillim and studying. Glassman said acts of tzedakah — donations to your favorite charity — and everyone taking on one small mitzvah can also be made in merit of a speedy recovery for the family.

Due to the overwhelming number of requests, Aish HaTorah executive board member and past president Joan Silber sent an e-mail with suggestions for people wanting to do something for the family.

“Make a donation to Maos Chitim, a local Jewish assistance organization,” Silber wrote as one suggestion. “Include a note letting them know you would appreciate your donation going for the benefit of the Grunberger family. All collections go directly to the families in need.”

Donations can be sent to Aish HaTorah, 457 N. Woodsmill Road, Chesterfield, MO 63017 and/or Maos Chitim, c/o Vaad Hoeir, #4 Millstone Campus, St. Louis, Mo. 63146.