Micki Grossman
Micki Grossman

“She died doing a mitzvah, which is just how she’d want to go; being helpful, being productive and making a difference,” said her son Ross Grossman.

The Jewish community lost one of its quintessential volunteers last week when Micki Grossman passed away unexpectedly. She died doing what she loved — volunteering.

“She died doing a mitzvah, which is just how she’d want to go; being helpful, being productive and making a difference,” said her son Ross Grossman.

On the morning of Jan. 19, Micki got a call from Hazon Detroit asking if she could help out for a few hours that day. After playing the “Words with Friends” game online, reciting a healing prayer for those she knew were ill and checking in with others through email, she went to Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield to help assemble boxes of food.

“She was so excited because there have not been many opportunities to volunteer in person during the pandemic,” said son Ross. “She was looking forward to being there, seeing people and helping out. It’s what she loved to do.”

While packing boxes of food, Micki collapsed, presumably from a heart attack. She was 86.

Rabbi Joseph Krakoff, Micki’s rabbi and friend, delivered the eulogy.

“Well over a decade ago, Micki came to meet with me to talk about this day,” he said during a graveside service. “True to form, she had strong opinions about her funeral and more than anything else, Micki asked that I offer only a brief eulogy.

“With great love and respect, I told her at the time that she was making an impossible request. For someone who truly had her hand in so much, it was the ultimate challenge to condense a lifetime of commitment to her family and community into just a few moments.”

In addition to being active on scores of committees throughout her lifetime, Micki served on the boards of Jewish Family Service, Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy, Hillel of Metropolitan Detroit and JCRC/AJC. Other organizations that benefited most recently from her dedication included Yad Ezra, Bookstock, Gleaners and NCJW.

Many Mitzvahs

For several years, she was actively involved in organizing Federation’s hugely popular Mitzvah Day. She also enjoyed working with a variety of interfaith initiatives.

She was particularly passionate about youth mentoring programs and anything that involved getting books into the hands of underprivileged children.

She cultivated her Jewish identity as a lifelong learner by regularly attending Melton and JLearn classes, Bible study and weekly parshah classes. In 2005, she began a Tanach program with Rabbi Mitch Parker, called Torah Line by Line.

“It took us 15 years to complete the study,” said Rabbi Parker. “Micki attended almost every class. She always had a funny story, an insight into the text or an important announcement about a volunteer opportunity. I can frankly say that our classes will never quite be the same without her.”

In an outpouring of support, friends in and out of the Jewish community expressed feelings of shock and grief, flooding the family with touching tributes and testaments to the kind, giving, caring and charismatic person she was.

Born and raised in Detroit, Micki earned a degree in elementary education from Wayne State University. Following her graduation, she taught kindergarten in Detroit. Ironically, it was in the same classroom where her kindergarten teacher inspired her to pursue a career in education.

She married her beloved husband, Louis Grossman, when she was 26. He passed away in 1986, one year after the couple celebrated their 25 anniversary.

According to her son, his mother was most proud of her family and their accomplishments.

A Great Impact

“I think she’d also be proud of the difference she made in the Jewish community. I know she would be shocked and excited at all of the comments from the people who remember her well and see that she made a real mark on this community,” said her son Ross. “She won the Eight over 80 Award in 2016. That was something she was very proud of, although she didn’t want everyone to know she was over 80.”

Micki Grossman was the devoted mother of Ross (Alan Ellias) Grossman, Marci (Mark Lempert) Grossman and Gael Grossman. She was the loving grandmother of Evan Grossman-Lempert and Riley Grossman-Lempert. She was the cherished sister of Kenneth Sherman, Sanford Sherman and Joyce (Elliott) Nelson. Many other loving relatives and friends also survive her.

Interment was at Hebrew Memorial Park. Those wishing to honor Micki’s memory can contribute to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, (248) 624-4260; Hazon Detroit, 6735 Telegraph #320, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301; Yad Ezra, (248) 548-3663; or a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements were by Hebrew Memorial Chapel.