Rabbi Donn Gross
Rabbi Gross grew up in Staten Island, NY and attended Jewish day schools, including 3 years at MTJ, Rav Moshe Feinsteins's yeshiva katanah. In 1980 he went to Israel and spent 4 years in Yeshivot: 2.5 years in Yeshiva Ohavei Torah, in the heart of Bene Brak where he met and connected with his Rebbi, Rabbi Todros Miller of Gateshead, England. 1.5 years were spent in Jerusalem at The Mirrer Yeshiva and Ohr Sameach. In 1984 he returned to the U.S. and finished his B.A. in Jewish Education at Yeshiva University. In 1985 he began Chazzanut training under the tutelage of Cantors Bernard Beer and Joseph Malovany and in 1986 got his first position as a "Kol Bo", designated to lead all prayers and Torah reading at Brothers of Israel in West Long Branch, NJ. The following year he became the "Kol Bo" and beloved Cantor at The Kingsbridge Center of Israel, Riverdale, NY where he served for 2.5 years.
In the 1990's Rabbi Gross built his family and business and was the weekly Torah reader at a number of shuls in NJ. In 2002 he moved to West Caldwell and in 2008 became the primary Torah reader for Chabad West Orange, run by Rabbi M. Kasowitz.
In 2014 a sequence of events inspired "Mr. Gross" to study for and attain ordination to become a Rabbi, which he did in 2016. The smicha program was through Yeshiva Pirchei Shoshanim with Rabbi L. Landsman as the primary instructor. A year prior to beginning studying for smicha, Rabbi Gross became a hospice volunteer and supplemented his Torah learning with intensive Talmud classes at Passaic Torah Institute, studying closely with Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim.
Bet Dovid's first minyan was Shabbat Chanukah, 2014. However, Bet Dovid was in the planning for over three decades. Elements of the shul are based on Rabbi Gross' inspirations from seminary in Israel, his study at the Belz School and his experience as a professional Chazzan. The desire was to create a unique shul that was intensive but with a light touch. It was a quest to merge the seriousness of worship with soulful joy.
Now in our 4th year, it can confidently be said: this quest is at hand!
To view some of Rabbi Gross' writings or videos, click here.