Man who revived European Jewry

The late Aba Dunner (second from left)

The late Aba Dunner (second from left)

Tributes have flowed in for one of British Jewry's best-known Orthodox activists, Aba Dunner, executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis, who died on Sunday aged 73.

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks praised his "immense resourcefulness and skill in dealing with the many challenges European Jewish communities have faced in recent times. It was a privilege working with him, and he has left a legacy of great blessings in all the areas in which he was active."

Philip Carmel, the CER's international relations director, said: "Aba devoted over 20 years of his life to the reinvigoration of European Jewry. He was very much involved in bringing resources to revive the communities of East Europe and strengthen Orthodoxy across the continent."

CER president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said: "He was one of the greatest spokesmen for European Jewry. To many of our rabbis, he was a father figure."

A former editor of the Jewish Tribune and general-secretary of Agudath Israel in the UK, Aba Dunner belonged to one of the country's leading Orthodox families. His father Rabbi Joseph Dunner, a refugee from Nazi Germany who came to London after the war, was an influential figure who presided over the growth of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Aba Dunner's son Rabbi Pini Dunner was the founding rabbi of the Saatchi Synagogue in St John's Wood.

Rabbi Arye Goldberg, deputy director of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, described Aba Dunner as a "a pillar of the British and European Jewish communities whose "devotion to Klal Yisrael [the Jewish people] was enormous. His presence will be sorely missed by all those involved with Jewish life in Europe."

Rabbi Dunner was also active in local politics as a Conservative councillor in the London borough of Barnet for eight years.

Brian Coleman, London Assembly member of Barnet and Camden, said: "Aba Dunner's reputation was world-renowned and his loss will be felt not just in north London but internationally too."

● The former rabbi of Barnet Synagogue, Rabbi Isaac Newman, died in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Also a former minister at Dalston Synagogue and one of the founders of Rabbis for Human Rights, Rabbi Newman and his wife Rita had four children, one of whom is Ben-Gurion University's Professor David Newman.

    Last updated: 9:36am, July 22 2011