Lord Levy gives heartfelt tribute to Rabbi Avrohom Pinter as street opened in his name

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Lord Levy gives heartfelt tribute to Rabbi Avrohom Pinter as street opened in his name

Labour peer Lord Levy describes the late Rabbi Pinter as 'a beacon of what communal relations should be' at Hackney Council ceremony

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Lord Michael Levy has delivered a heartfelt tribute to the late Rabbi Avrohom Pinter during a ceremony organised by Hackney Council leaders to open a street in the late Charedi leader’s name alongside a new housing development.

At a ceremony attended by shadow foreign minister David Lammy, Lord Glassman, Hackney mayor Caroline Woodley and Haringey Council Leader Cllr Peray Ahmet, alongside other local dignitaries, Levy described Rabbi Pinter as “a beacon of what communal relations should be” whose “Yiddishkeit was paramount in his life” and who “never wavered from what he believed.”

The new Rabbi Avrohom Pinter Path was unveiled alongside a new development of council and to-buy homes, many of which are tailored to the needs of the Charedi community.

The opening event of the Quartet/ Tower Court development in Pinter’s memory, also marked four years since his passing.

The new development includes 52 social rented and 80 outright sold homes, which stands as a testament to Rabbi Pinter’s tireless advocacy for the design of the development to be tailored for Charedi families, including kosher kitchens, sukkahs, Shabbos lifts, and spacious homes. A considerable number of Charedi families have already moved in.

Lord Levy gives tribute speech to late Rabbi Pinter

Recalling his own Stamford Hill roots at Hackney Downs Grammar School, the Labour peer said Pinter’s  “understanding of other communities was paramount”, adding he shuddered when he looked at what is going on in the world today.

Levy told the audience, who included Board of Deputies president Marie Van der Zyl, and London Jewish Forum co-founders Adrian Cohen and Andrew Gilbert, that a 27 year-old cousin of his remained captured as a hostage by Hamas.

He noted that Hackney had changed as an area but he said he was “proud” to see the way local leaders had now named the path in honour of a Charedi rabbi.

David Lammy MP and Board of Deputies president Marie Van der Zyl

Levy said each year he now misses “greatly” the Rosh Hashanah blessing Rabbi Pinter always gave him.

He recalled Pinter had phoned him when he went into University College Hospital with Covid.

After he died, Levy said he had helped get the rabbi’s body to Israel during the pandemic “which was almost impossible.”  

He also recalled convincing prime minister Tony Blair to attend the opening of yesodeh Hatorah School.

The PM had asked “why?”. Levy said he told Blair he would be able to see “another form of Judaism” and “very special people.”

Cutting the ribbon to open

He said Blair “looked at me and said Michael, how can I refuse you?'”

Levy also lavished praise on Lammy, the local MP, saying “pray God he will soon be our foreign secretary.”

He said he also knew that the respect between Lammy and his local community was reciprocated both ways. 

Lammy also shared heartfelt reflections on Rabbi Pinter’s indelible mark on both political and communal spheres.

He recalled Rabbi Pinter was among the select few who accompanied him from the inception of his political journey and provided counsel until his very passing.

Lammy also hailed Rabbi Pinter’s ability to work across party lines for the betterment of the community, despite being a strong Labour member.

Reb Binyomin Stern, President of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, concluded the memorial by addressing the crowd, expressing the community’s gratitude to the council for recognising the needs of the Charedi community and ensuring their inclusion in the development.

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