Rabbi Ben Kurzer
Rabbi Kurzer has been Rabbi of Pinner Shul since August 2019, having been led to the rabbinate by his two passions – people and education. He utilises his warmth and love of people, coupled with pastoral training and a growing wealth of experience to guide people through all types of situations. He enjoys teaching about the development of halacha (Jewish law), personal growth and Jewish history and is known for his clear, organised teaching style.
Previously, Rabbi Kurzer served as the Assistant Rabbi at Edgware United for five years. Prior to that Rabbi Kurzer studied at Yeshiva University in Manhattan for seven years, earning a BA in Jewish History, semicha (rabbinic ordination) as well as working for New Jersey NCSY and as part of the rabbinic staff at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates.
When not busy with shul life, Rabbi Kurzer can be found with his family, reading or on the football pitch. He is a keen footballer, having played twice in the Rabbis vs. Spurs Legends charity game for Laniado Hospital, as well as a general sports fan. He also has a love of fast cars, particularly F1, and is currently saving for his first supercar which he hopes to purchase in the year 2268.
Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer
Rebbetzen Abi earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from UCL after studying in Michlalah in Israel. After moving to New York, Abi completed her master’s degree in clinical social work at Wurzeiler School of Social Work and worked for two years as a counsellor at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in Brooklyn, New York. She also trained as a teacher of Taharat HaMishpacha (family purity) with the OU and Young Israel. On returning to the UK she became the assistant Rebbetzen at Edgware United Synagogue alongside her job as social worker and counsellor for Norwood.
Abi is also a graduate of the Chief Rabbi’s Maayan Program and has taught higher Jewish education classes to various communities in and around London. In addition to her role at Pinner Shul, she also works as a Clinical Manager and is studying for her doctorate in clinical psychology at Royal Holloway University.
Abi enjoys thinking outside the box and being creative. She uses her blend of counselling skills and Torah insight to support people going through life’s challenges big or small.
The Kurzers have three young boys and most recently a daughter, who keep them as busy as all the rest of their responsibilities put together!
Rabbi Yaakov Grunewald
Rabbi Grunewald was appointed Rabbi of Pinner Synagogue in April 1976, having previously served as Assistant Minister at St Johns Wood Synagogue.
During his period of leadership, the Pinner Community grew from being a very small, affiliated community to becoming a major shul within the family of the United Synagogue.
Throughout these years, Rabbi Grunewald conducted regular shiurim in Halachah and Talmud, as well as teaching hundreds of children and encouraging them to take part in the service. He also taught Bible Commentaries to degree students at Jews’ College as well as Hebrew Grammar and Religious Knowledge to advanced pupils at the Hasmonean and Menorah High Schools.
For many years, Rabbi Grunewald was a member of the Chief Rabbi’s cabinet and a member of the executive of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue.
Rabbi Grunewald led our community for 35 years until his retirement in 2010 and although he now lives in Jerusalem, he has returned to Pinner on many occasions and is still in regular contact with many of our members.
Karen lives in Pinner with her husband, two sons and two dogs. She is a qualified primary school teacher and having worked in many schools for eight years, moved on to supporting volunteers in schools, becoming the volunteer coordinator at JW3 when it opened in 2013.
Since 2018 Karen has been the Welfare Coordinator at Pinner Shul, focussing on ensuring that there is support for isolated, lonely or unwell members of our community and coordinating a wonderful team of befrienders and volunteers.
Karen is also deeply involved in supporting community initiatives such as the pop-up cafe on Thursday mornings (Chat & Share) both online and in person at the shul.
Karen thoroughly enjoys getting to know the members of our wonderful community and looks forward to meeting you all.
Yonatan was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. After school, Yonatan left South Africa for Israel, where he spent many years studying in Yeshiva and University. During this time, Yonatan obtained his undergraduate degree and MBA from Bar Ilan University.
After completing his studies, Yonatan worked for various fin-tech start-up companies, before relocating to London. In his role as Community Director at Pinner Shul, Yonatan is passionate about bringing fun and energy to Shul activities and events for youngsters, alongside building meaningful relationships with the children, youth, and their families. When away from his desk, Yonatan’s attention is turned towards football – both on and off the pitch.
Sara was born in Johannesburg but moved to London with her family when she was 10 years old. She attended Beth Jacob Primary and High School, before leaving for Israel to study at Bnot Sarah Seminary in Jerusalem. Sara then entered the world of education, where she has since remained, mostly working as an early-years teacher. Alongside this, she is studying Psychology at The Open University.
In her role at Pinner Shul, Sara feels passionate about creating impactful Jewish experiences for the children and youth – be they social, educational, or religious. Sara enjoys a bit of cooking and baking – something she keenly incorporates into some of the most popular young people’s programmes throughout the year.
Florin was born and raised in Romania and studied Theology at the University Emanuel in Oradia, Romania. He married Otilia in 2004 and lived in Milan, Italy for 12 years, before moving to London in 2016 to live in Hatch End
In 2017, they moved to Pinner and discovered a small church where their members have big hearts and are very friendly – they chose Florin to be their minister. In 2019, Florin also started to work as a caretaker for Pinner Synagogue and was promoted to Senior Caretaker in 2021, where together with his two colleagues, Adi and Robson, he works tirelessly for the Pinner Community.
Carolyn has been the Community Administrator for Pinner Synagogue since 2007, during which time she has seen many changes in many ways.
Carolyn is married to Joel and they have recently celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary, together with their two children, a daughter who works in finance and a son who is studying at Nottingham University.
Carolyn lives in Eastcote and has three dogs – she can often be seen walking in Roxbourne Park or her favourite place, Black Park in Iver.
When not working for the shul, her hobbies include, swimming, going to Zumba and baking.