Agudath Israel Reacts to Execution of Martin Grossman


NEW YORK – An Orthodox Jewish organization that had been among several urging Florida Governor Charlie Crist to spare the life of Martin Grossman, and pursuing possible legal avenues to stay implementation of the death penalty, expressed “deep anguish” over his execution this evening.

Mr. Grossman was convicted of killing Ms. Margaret Parks, a Florida Wildlife Officer, in 1984, when he was 19 years old.  In advocating for his life to be spared, the Jewish groups acknowledged the horror of his crime and expressed their deepest sympathy for the family of his victim.  At the same time, they called attention to the fact that the murder was an act of panic, not premeditation; that Mr. Grossman’s low IQ and impaired mental state were not given proper recognition in his death sentence; and that Mr. Grossman has not only conducted himself as a model prisoner since his incarceration some 25 years ago but showed profound remorse and regret for his actions.

“The tragic news out of Florida,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid  Zwiebel, Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president, “leaves us feeling deep anguish and sorrow.

“Mr. Grossman’s execution has hit our community very hard.  He was a fellow Jew and so we saw him as a brother.  Countless members of our community had telephoned, e-mailed and faxed the Governor’s office pleading that Mr. Grossman’s sentence be commuted to life in prison.  Unfortunately, our hopes were dashed.

“There are many lessons one might draw from this terrible tragedy, but in the end we acknowledge ‘Boruch Dayan Ha’emes’ – ‘Blessed be the true Judge’.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. I just hope and pray that the Agudah didnt shoot itself in the foot and lose credibilty for all the other important issues facing our community daily…

  2. Why is the Jewish community to quote you all ” leaves us feeling deep anguish and sorrow” If I understand rightly the Jewish faith does not ackknowledge the “New Testiment” as they believe that Christ is yet to come. So that leaves the old testiment which according to the old covent commands an eye for an eye so since Grossman killed Mrs M. Parks according to the old testiment Grossman should be killed. The only thing I feel sorry about is that it took so long. Groups stand up for the Killers what about Mrs. Parks 2 young children at the time? What about her husband? Is the Jewish community forgetting them because they were not Jewish so they don’t count?

  3. To #4. Markus1423. Nobody’s forgetting anybody here. Given the facts of this tragedy; it was not a case for a death penalty as simple as that.

  4. QUOTE: “He was a fellow Jew and so we saw him as a brother.”

    That’s great. So a Jew in jail 25 years got Aguda’s attention.

    Let’s see if Aguda can get a hit, having struck out on this.

    How long will it take for Aguda to say: no more projects until Jonathan Pollard is free.

    He has been in jail for about the same amount of time.

    What will Aguda do? Will it call for all Yeshivas, of any type and stripe, to make sure that every student knows his name?

    Will it take what son of a Meshumad (now dead: Caspar Weinberger), who said “hang him” (Heaven Forbid) to get Aguda’s attention ??

    Wake up, Aguda — what are you waiting for?

  5. #4, sir:

    Regarding your assertion that Jews “believe that Christ is yet to come”, please allow me to correct this, perhaps innocent, mistaken comment.

    Jews do believe that the messiah is yet to come, but they do not believe that the messiah is the Christian savior.

    Regarding the rest of your comment, there are obviously many other facets to this sad story that obviate the idea that an “eye-for-an-eye” would be a valid reasoning.

    For instance, if a person kills by accident, surely he would not be put to death, and you can read about this topic, too, in what you call the “Old Testament”.

    So this murder that Mr. Grossman was convicted of and put to death for clearly had some factors that many people, both Jew and non-Jew, felt should have set the appropriate penalty, under Florida law, for Mr. Grossman as life in prison as opposed to the death penalty.

    Further, only a Jewish court of law can sentence someone to anything, so your “eye-for-an-eye” question is really inapplicable regardless of the circumstances of this particular case, as it was the State of Florida and its processes that sentenced him to death, and that has nothing to do with Jewish law.

  6. I just logged on & saw the same email from Crist that everyone else received. Here is MY reply:

    What you did is legalized murder. In my opinion, you are no better than how you view Mr. Grossman. The difference between the two of you is that you get to murder legally & you were not borderline legally incompetent with an IQ of 77 when you killed.

    How does it feel, Governor, knowing the notches on your belt now number 5? How does it feel to know this act will effectively railroad your political career? As a “legal killer”, you will no doubt find it difficult to advance beyond the position of Governor of Florida.

    The citizens of Florida do not deserve you to represent them. This is a sad day.

  7. I’m sorry but I completely disagree with those of you who have or plan to contact the governor to express your feelings at this point. This can only lead to more chillul Hashem.

    PLEASE refrain from contacting him.

    He made a choice. He based his decision on what HE perceived as the right thing to do, as what he believes to be what HIS laws tell him to do. HE did NOT do anything wrong per se. YES he should have heeded our pleads and requests for clemency, but we simply cannot expect rachmanut from him as a goy. At this point our job as Torah Jews is to accept the outcome as a decree of Hashem. We did what we could but Hashem willed this to happen. May the years of Martin’s a”h suffering and his unjust death serve as a kapara for the sin he committed so long ago as a young and troubled man.

  8. MichelleNY, I disagree. The time has come for us to stop rolling over & ignoring injustices. Gov. Crist will be up for re-election soon. I don’t have a vote in FL, but I sure have one in a Presidential race.

    I’m sorry, protesting an unjust execution (I’m not sure if I agree with the whole concept any more…am I turning into a LIBERAL????)doesn’t cause a Chilul Hashem. It’s a matter of principle. I can’t stand by & see such acts just fall by the wayside because we are afraid of the “goyim.”

    Mr. Crist needs to understand that for every action there is a reaction; in this case, outrage by a bloc of influential voters. I’m sick & tired of our community leaders taking the line of least resistance because somebody says it causes a Chillul Hashem. Lawful objection is not a Chillul Hashem. Burning garbage cans is. It’s time to stand up & open our mouths & use our not inconsiderable influence to effect change. As a citizen, I choose to exercise that right.

    The Black community did it, admittedly not always through appropriate methods. But the bottom line is, they got what they wanted.

    It’s our turn.