Joseph Finklestone
Sunday 23 October 2011 09:03

Methodical, gentlemanly, quietly spoken, Ab Kramer symbolised the best in British Zionism and its undoubted achievements. He recognised that if the flame of Zionism were to be kept alight in Britain it was not sufficient to make fiery speeches: Jewish children had to receive a thorough education in which Judaic values, the Hebrew language and awareness of the new State of Israel were given pre-eminent roles.

As chairman of the British Zionist Federation from 1972 to 1975, Joint President (with Dr S. Levenberg) and Honorary President of the ZF Educational Trust, Kramer nurtured the growth of several schools in London and the provinces. They are today the best living advertisement for Zionist values. At a time when the Zionist Federation itself is beset with financial problems, the vigorous growth of these schools is remarkable. One example is provided by the Rosh Pinah Primary Schools in Edgware, north London (founded by the Rev Saul Amias), to which Jewish parents are clamouring to send their children.

As a young man Kramer fell under the spell of Zionism, then led by such charismatic figures as Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett. He founded the Association of Young Zionist Societies where one of the members was Abba Eban. His faith was strengthened during the Second World War when he served in the RAF in the Middle East, reaching the rank of squadron leader. While in Cairo he met up again with Abba Eban, then serving in the British forces, who was to become Israel's eloquent voice at the United Nations and foreign minister.

Before entering the RAF Kramer had become a successful solicitor. He was later active as chairman of the British section of the Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

Ab Kramer was an enthusiastic traveller, going up the Amazon and visiting Arctic regions. His wife Dorothy was always at his side - as she was when he died, in a car crash, in which she too was killed.

Joseph Finklestone

Abraham Kramer, solicitor and community leader: born London 7 October 1908; chairman, British Zionist Federation 1972-75; married 1934 Dorothy Davis (one son, one daughter); died London 21 February 1996.

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