Rabbi Yaakov Grunewald, Emeritus Rabbi of Pinner Synagogue
Rabbi Grunewald and his family came to Pinner at Pesach 1976. Rabbi Grunewald spent his childhood in Israel, the eldest of three sons. His parents had fled from the Nazis to Palestine, where they met and married in 1940. Rabbi Grunewald was educated in a state religious school, where his love of Jewish learning quickly showed itself. In 1960 his parents moved to Hamburg, where Ya'akov took his A Levels before coming to Jews' College, to take a BA Degree. After this he studied at yeshivot in Gateshead and Montreux before returning to Jews' College to do a doctorate. However he was invited to be Assistant Minister at St. John's Wood Synagogue and realised that he should take Semicha instead. He came to Pinner and then embarked on the Semicha course at Jews' College, where he is proud of having studied with former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks.
When Rabbi Grunewald came to Pinner, he realised immediately the need for proper teaching at the Cheder, and set about reorganising and introducing new methods and in a very short time had so raised the standards at Pinner that the children were winning prizes, many of them top prizes, in the examinations set by the London Board of Education. Rabbi Grunewald has devoted his life to teaching both children and adults.
"The main drive of my live is to teach ..."
He says: "The main drive of my life is to teach, at whatever level, at whatever age. I don't mind if they are adults or children, if it's just on a one-to-one basis, a class of ten or a sermon I can deliver. What drives me is imparting knowledge of Judaism."