TY Alum Gives Homeless in LA Something to Smile About

Young Judaea and TY alumnus, Dr. Jay Grossman, doesn't just talk about tikun olam (repairing the word), he makes it a part of his everyday life through Homeless Not Toothless, a not-for-profit program he founded in 1992 that provides free dental care to the homeless community in Los Angeles.  Recently, Dr. Grossman and his amazing project were highlighted by the Jewish Journal and he shared that "His to expand Homeless Not Toothless nationwide: 'This is my tikun olam.'"

Jay shared with us his background and lifelong involvement with Young Judaea, expressing how his experiences at camp and in Israel were definitely a part of infusing him with the values he holds dear and espouses in his life today.

Photo by David Miller for Jewish Journal Photo by David Miller for Jewish Journal

I am from Long Island, a Hadassah associate since my Bar Mitzvah, as my mother was president of Long Island chapter and an active member….forever

I went to TY for all of high school and had some of the best summers of my life there!  In fact, last month, two of my bunk mates from 35 years ago spent Hanukkah at my house after flying in from the Midwest. Two other bunkmates were my ushers at my wedding 26 years ago and Year Course…was the best year of my life

TY, Young Judaea, and Year Course were the best programs my parents could ever give me, and ones that I am thrilled my children now enjoy. Two of them just completed Year Course, and had similar life-changing, awesome experiences. And there is no doubt, that tikun olam was taught to me through my Jewish upbringing, and certainly reinforced in YJ with tons of philanthropy, giving to the poor and elderly, and honoring your mother and father - not just YJ morals and ethics, but Jewish ones.

I am proud to be a supporter as an adult, and I encourage all that know the positive impact Young Judaea had on us and continue the legacy.

Here is a short excerpt from the Jewish Journal article about Dr. Grossman and his program, Homeless Not Toothless, published earlier this month.

In 1991, Dr. Jay Grossman was waiting at a stoplight in West Los Angeles when he spotted a bedraggled homeless veteran who was missing his front teeth. The dentist was a bit hesitant as he reached into his wallet to give the man a handout; he worried that the veteran might spend the money on drugs or alcohol instead of food or shelter. “But then I thought, ‘Where is the tzedakah in that?’ ”

Grossman, 51, said in his Brentwood office recently. “So instead of a dollar, I gave him my business card. I said, ‘Let me see what I can do about getting you out of pain and replacing those missing teeth so you can function by eating and look good for a job interview. That’ll give you more benefit than my giving you a buck.”

We loved hearing about this amazing example of taking action to make a positive impact on the world, a trend among TY and YJ graduates over the years.  We'd love to hear from any other alumni out there who want to share their stories, too!

To read the full article in the Jewish Journal click here.

Dr. Jay Grossman participated in Young Judaea in Long Island, attended Tel Yehudah, went on Year Course, and sent the next generation to Young Judaea programs, with his children attending TY and Year Course, as well.  He currently lives in California.

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