Rabbi Ben Kurzer & Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer
Rabbi Kurzer begins as Rabbi of Pinner Shul in August 2019, having served as the Assistant Rabbi at Edgware United for five years. Prior to that Rabbi Kurzer lived in Manhattan for seven years, earning a BA in Jewish History, semicha (rabbinic ordination) as well as working for New Jersey NCSY and on the rabbinic staff at the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates.
Rabbi Kurzer was led to the rabbinate by his two passions – people and education. He utilises his warmth and love of people, coupled with Yeshiva University’s 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.
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 is Rebbetzen at Pinner United Synagogue and will soon be taking on the role of Maayan within the community at the start of 2020. She 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 counselor 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.
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 who keep them as busy as all the rest of their responsibilities put together!
Rebbetzen Abi Kurzer
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.
"The main drive of my live is to teach ..."
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.
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."