The Jewish world recently undertook a colossal campaign to save the life of a young Jewish man sentenced to death, Martin Grossman. Spanning continents and religious denominations, countless Jews took time from busy schedules to telephone, e-mail, and write to politicians who could potentially spare Grossman from his death row fate. (The official estimate was 50,000 appeals. However, those involved in the efforts claim that there were many more. Just the petitions alone that were sent to the governor contained more than 40,000 signatures.)
At the same time, the heavenly “offices” were likewise flooded with heartfelt pleas and prayers. Jews stormed the gates of heaven, beseeching that they not be closed. None of those prayers went to waste; no prayer ever does. Someday, somewhere, those prayers will be retrieved from beneath the Heavenly Throne to generate salvation for Jews in need.
These were publicized efforts undertaken by the community at large. However, at the same time, a far more discreet, but no less intense campaign was implemented behind the scenes by experienced askanim and Jewish leaders.
One of Zman Magazine’s writers was privileged to attend many of the meetings that were held by world-renowned activists, lawyers, lobbyists, political fundraisers and philanthropists. He personally witnessed much of the incredible efforts invested in this cause.
Unquestionably, Michoel Yechiel ben Avraham, a’h, merited that his tragic fate was the catalyst for this monumental achdus/unity in Klal Yisrael. Chassidish, Litvish, Lubavitch, Satmar, Agudas Yisrael, the OU and others — all differences were put aside to save a Jewish life. Chazal’s powerful words seemed to be everyone’s mantra: “One who saves one Jewish soul is as if he has saved an entire world.”
Recruited for the cause were the best lawyers in the country, Republican Party leaders, fundraisers, political activists, influential government officials, senators, the Florida congressional delegation, prominent law professors and even Richard Nixon’s son-in-law, Donald Trump and the Pope.
Tragically, the intensive efforts did not bring about the hoped-for result. Nevertheless, they did serve to demonstrate the lengths the Jewish people will go for a worthy cause. Surely, it is no coincidence that the last words Martin Grossman murmured before he left this world were, “Ahavas Yisrael,” – “Love among fellow Jews.”
This article takes you behind the scenes for a glimpse of the tireless endeavors and ceaseless intervention that went on over the past few weeks, publicizing previously little known details about these efforts, that were heard directly from those involved in the noble efforts to save a Jewish life.