Rabbi Avrohom Pinter Z”tzl
Many of you will be as stunned and as grief-stricken as we are at the sudden and shocking loss of our dear and unique Rabbi Avrohom Pinter during Pesach.
For many on the Interlink team, particularly the old-timers, he has been our teacher, mentor and rock of strength over many years. He had so much wisdom and understanding of the world, and for over two decades we turned to him daily for help with those many matters that were simply too big for our shoulders and minds. He never shied away, or said no, or lacked courage to act.
There were very few charities that did not cross paths with this great man somehow. Many of you will have have sought his counsel and attended meetings where he was present. For those charities on whose boards he served or where he played a special role, the loss is shattering. Even those of you who knew him less well will have been aware of the massive role he played supporting us all collectively both up front and from the rear.
He was always up for everything that needed doing. He took responsibility. He was courageous and resilient to the inevitable harshness and criticism that he faced for his efforts.
Rabbi Pinter was rock solid in his Yiddishkeit. On one occasion he was sitting at our boardroom table and responded to a challenging line of argument with some belligerent party simply saying that ‘my belief is very strong’. Those present have never forgotten the simplicity and profundity with which he said those words, which we have used ourselves when occasion has called. He was an old timer, with a completely consistent, reliable and iron-cast moral compass.
It is hard to imagine how things will be. Some may remember when his daughter Mrs Rivky Weinberg in her youthful days served as Development Officer on Interlink’s team. With incredible bravery she has asked us now to rally, saying that ‘tomorrow is going to happen’. She is right. We are going to have to be very strong, but there will always be a before and after Rabbi Pinter.
Rabbi Pinter took particular pride in the Interlink team, and had so much confidence and faith in us. We will have to find the strength to live up to that confidence and continue the work we shared with him. In the heavy sadness that weighs on us, let’s remember what a happy and frank person he was even at the most difficult times, and the constant humour and wit that were his hallmark.
For some of our team, the blow falls particularly hard. He worked closely with Mrs Chaya Spitz and Mr Yoel Friedman on policy and public affairs. Mrs Suri Weiss served in her personal capacity as a Governor of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls School, they were on the same team. She and her colleagues at the school are somehow going to have to remodel the way the school operates. He had daily contact with Mr Motty Pinter and Mrs Malka Nutovics through their Chinuch UK work. All of us, and the rest of the Interlink family, will miss him deeply.
Here are some of the messages coming from all corners of society:
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Rabbi Avraham Pinter z”l. 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. 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.”
Lord John Mann, the Government’s independent advisor on antisemitism, said: “I worked for 15 years with Rabbi Pinter – he became a trusted ally and friend as well as a major community leader. His advice and perspective has always been significant. His warmth and smile has been a comfort to so many of us.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Rabbi Pinter “did so much to help community relations in London and will be missed by so many”.
Hackney MP Diane Abbott, a former shadow home secretary, said: “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.”
Shadow Justice Secretary and MP for Tottenham David Lammy said: “A true leader of the Charedi Orthodox Community in Stamford hill, he was clever, erudite and inclusive. This is a huge loss. I will miss his counsel and good humour immensely.”
Yehi Zichro Boruch and may he be a sorely needed meilitz yoisher.