A senior Stamford Hill rabbi accused of being a “Kapo” by a Charedi activist has said he “barely knows” his attacker and is “embarrassed for him”.
The widely respected Rabbi Avroham Pinter, who is principal of Yesodeh Hatorah Senior Girls’ School and chairman of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregation’s (UOHC) external affairs committee, was reacting to comments made by Shraga Stern, who has organised several letters defending Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Stern called Pinter a “Kapo” in an angry email about education and the teaching of alternative sexualities and gender identities which he sent to hundreds of Charedi residents in London on Sunday.
The term originated in Dachau and refers to Jews who forced other Jews to work, spying on them and reporting misdemeanours to Nazi officers in return for extra rations. It is considered the most offensive insult one Jew can use against another.
On Tuesday, Pinter said: “I barely know the guy. He’s just not in my address book, not on my radar. Maybe that’s why he is angry.”
Both men are opposed to Government efforts to force teachers to teach about non-heterosexual relations and gender identities different to those at birth, but Stern appears outraged that Pinter has been discussing concerns with ministers.
On Stern’s anger, Pinter said: “He’s a self-appointed activist. He represents no school. No Jewish organisation backs him. Honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed for him. To use that word, he’s just destroyed any hopes he had of credibility.”
He added: “There’s a saying in Yiddish which translates roughly as ‘they’re not in your peer group.’ It’s what I tell my teachers when a child is misbehaving, and it’s what I thought when I heard what he’d written.”
Referencing Stern’s cheerleading of letters in support of Jeremy Corbyn is recent months, Pinter said: “That says it all really.”