Rabbi Irwin Groner (z’l), Emeritus
Rabbi Irwin Groner (z’l) came to Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Detroit in 1959 as assistant to Rabbi Morris Adler, of blessed memory. He was named senior rabbi in 1967. In 1978, he was elected Rabbi of the Congregation for life. A gifted orator, Rabbi Groner served the congregation with great distinction for over 40 years. In the Fall of 2003, Rabbi Groner was granted the honorary title of Rabbi Emeritus.
He served as President of the Rabbinical Assembly (an international group of rabbis) from 1990 – 1992. He served as chairman of the Governing Board of the “Etz Chayim”, the one-volume Torah Commentary that was recently produced for the Conservative Movement by the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Publication Society.
Rabbi Groner was a member of The Board of Governors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal and the Board of Governors of the United Synagogue. He served as chairman of the Rabbinical Assembly Conventions of 1976 and 1977, was co-chairman of the National Youth Commission of the United Synagogue from 1972-1976 and vice-president of the Jewish Community Council of Detroit from 1974-1976. He was also a president of the Michigan Board of Rabbis.
In 1984, Michigan Governor James Blanchard appointed him the first clergyman to serve on the State’s Judicial Tenure Commission, and subsequently served as its vice-chairman. Rabbi Groner was actively involved in programs of interfaith dialogue in the Metropolitan Detroit Community.
Rabbi Groner held degrees from the University of Chicago and the Hebrew Theological College of Chicago, where he was ordained. His first pulpit was in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he served as Rabbi of Agudath Achim Congregation. In 1982, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America for his outstanding service to the synagogue, the Conservative Movement and to K’lal Yisrael.
Rabbi Groner published a book which contained some of his High Holiday Sermons, entitled “Renewing Jewish Faith.” His sermons, essays and articles have been published in periodicals of the Conservative Movement.
Leypsa Groner, an accomplished pianist, attended Roosevelt University, where she majored in music. Through the years, she volunteered her services at many synagogue events.
Rabbi and Leypsa are the parents of Judge David and Judge Amy Groner, Dr. Joel Groner, and the late Debbie Groner (z’l).