Obituary: Rabbi Samuel Pinter

Joseph Finklestone
Friday 24 June 1994 23:02

Samuel Pinter, rabbi, teacher, educationalist: born Vienna 18 February 1919; married (four sons, two daughters); died London 20 June 1994.

'THE uncrowned King of Stamford Hill' and 'Grandfather of Jewish Education' were two of the titles given to Rabbi Samuel Pinter, principal of the Yesodah Hatorah schools, in London.

From his arrival in London from Vienna at the age of 18 in 1938, Samuel Pinter displayed an exceptional gift for public service and education. Though still a youngster he established a hostel for young refugees from Nazi Europe and joined the heroic efforts of the late Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld in rescuing Jews from the Nazi death camps.

When he joined, as a teacher, the religious Yesodeh Hatorah schools in Stamford Hill, they were small, with barely 200 pupils. Pinter became principal in 1952, and through his rare gifts of leadership and organisation the schools grew in numbers and importance. Today the Yesodeh schools are the largest Jewish schools of their kind in Britain, with over a thousand pupils. His son, Rabbi Abraham Pinter, a vice- principal, who is expected to succeed him, explained the purpose of the schools thus: 'Our aim is to provide a thorough Jewish education, as well as a secular education. Where we differ from Carmel College and Emmanuel College (two well-known Jewish schools) is that while they are academic schools which also give a Jewish education, we are a religious school which also teaches secular subjects.' This comparision will probably be challenged, if not resented, but there is no disputing the effectiveness of the Yesodeh model which has been followed by 30 other schools in Stamford Hill.

Boys and girls, educated separately in two adjoining buildings, are given a thorough ultra-

Orthodox Jewish education so that they are unlikely to veer from the narrow path and be 'acceptable to God and Man'. Rabbi Samuel Pinter is credited with having brought back the traditional (ultra-

Orthodox) Jewish education to Britain. His zest for Jewish studies did not end with his schools. He also established a seminary for married men. His Talmudical college in Stamford Hill is believed to be the largest in Europe.

His good nature, his refusal to adopt an elitist attitude and his genuine concern for all in trouble made Samuel Pinter the most popular single personality in Stamford Hill, a community which is slow to make up its mind and does so only after long trials.

(Photograph omitted)

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