Tributes paid to Hackney Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Avrohom Pinter who has died of Covid-19
PUBLISHED: 08:41 14 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:03 14 April 2020
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Leading Stamford Hill Rabbi and former Labour councillor Avrohom Pinter has died after suffering with the coronavirus.
Rabbi Pinter, a community figure who in 1982 became the first rabbi elected to Hackney Council, was a prominent voice for the Haredi commmunity long after his time in elected office.
After his death was announced on Easter Monday, figures from across London and the Jewish community paid tribute.
Luminaries to pay their respects included the chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis who said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rabbi Avrohom Pinter z”l. I will remember him as an eved Hashem with a kind heart and an unwavering commitment to his community. His loss will be widely felt across Anglo Jewry and beyond. Yehi zichro baruch. Rabbi Pinter was known to many as a tireless representative of the Jewish community in Stamford Hill, as a local councillor and as the Principal of Yesoday Hatorah Girls’ School.”
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, a close friend in Stamford Hill, said: “I would like to thank all those that said Tehillim for Rabbi Avrohom Pinter of blessed memory. This will certainly stand in good stead for his soul, and for all of us that must try to continue his good work.
“May his soul be bound in the eternal bond of life.”
Hackney mayor Phil Glanville also tweeted his respects, saying: “Devastated to hear Rabbi Pinter lost his fight with this terrible disease. His leadership not just in the past couple of weeks, but over many years did so much for Hackney and the Haredi community. He served as a Labour councillor and leader of Yesodey Hatorah Girls School. Thoughts with his family tonight.”
Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott added: “Giant of community politics passed away today, Rabbi Abraham Pinter. I knew him for over thirty years. He had so much to be proud of: his beautiful family; his work amongst the people and above all the Yesodey Hatorah School. He will be mourned by all.”
The mayor of London Sadiq Khan also said he was “sending my love to Rabbi Pinter’s family”. Mr Khan added: “He did so much to help community relations in London and will be missed by so many. May his memory be a blessing.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl was another to pay tribute. She said: “Rabbi Pinter was a much loved figure across the community, building bridges between different groups of Jews, government and wider UK society. He was always wise and often humorous.
“I considered him a mentor and friend. He will be deeply missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him. My sincere condolences to Rabbi Pinter’s whole family. Their loss as a family is our loss as a community.”
In addition to his work as a community figurehead, Rabbi Pinter was the driving force behind obtaining state funding for the Yesodey Hatorah Girls School and a new building, which was opened by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005.
The Hackney Ecumenical Christian Borough Deans said: “Rabbi Pinter was always willing to enter into faith dialogue with Christians and was a prophetic man ahead of his time in the way he built bridges and relationships with both Christians and Muslims in Hackney over many decades.
“He helped us to see that God is much bigger than we like to think, and also that being a person of faith meant very much being a person of political action.”
Munaf Zeena, chair of the North London Muslim Centre, also paid tribute, saying: The Muslim community of Hackney are deeply pained by the loss of Rabbi Pinter who was a great friend of the Muslim Community. He was a true communitarian whilst fighting for the rights of the diverse community of Hackney. He has no doubt left a huge void in our lives.
“Our heartfelt condolences to his family and the Jewish community.”
Cllr Ian Rathbone added: “Rabbi Pinter was key in helping us to achieve Fairtrade borough status in 2009 by signing a faith declaration on behalf of the Jewish community along with the other major faiths. He was a man ahead of his time, and a wonderful personal friend for more than 30 years whom I will be missing greatly.”
Rabbi Pinter was also central to efforts to encourage Haredi families to give their children the MMR vaccine after a spike in cases in the borough last year.
The Orthodox Jewish community in Hackney has already been hit hard by the virus. Rabbi Ashknizy from the Lordship Road synagogue Stanslowa died in late March, while the Shomrim group was battling to make sure many members of the community, who may have little engagement with television, adhered to social distancing rules.
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