Mrs. Gittel Pinter, a”h

Mrs. Gittel Rochel Pinter, a”h, a renowned mechaneches and principal of Bais Chinuch Lebanos Yesodei HaTorah in London, passed away yesterday in London. She was the wife of Rabbi Avraham Pinter, the director of Yesodei HaTorah institutions in London and one of the pillars of the community, as well as one of the leaders of Agudas Yisrael in England. She was 67 upon her passing in the prime of her life. The levayah departed yesterday in London and will take place this morning in Yerushalayim, from Shamgar to Har Hamenuchos.

Mrs. Pinter was born in 1947 in Paris to her father Harav Moshe Yaakov Beck, zt”l, the Rav of Apsha in Czechoslovakia-Hungary, who was a survivor and came to Paris with many other refugees.

She was raised in a home of Torah, and would relate that she slept in the room where father would learn, and she fell asleep at night to the sound of him learning and woke in the morning to the kol Torah. Indeed, from a very young age, she displayed outstanding Yiras Shamayim, values and modesty.

In Av 5731/1971, she married ybl”c, Rabbi Avraham Pinter, the son of Harav Shmelke Pinter, zt”l, the president and patron of Yesodei HaTorah institutions in London for over half a century, and one of the founders of Torah chinuch institutions in the city.

After the wedding, the Pinters lived in Eretz Yisrael. Upon the advice of the Bais Yisrael, zy”a, they moved to London, where Mrs. Pinter was asked by her father-in-law to join the staff of Yesodei HaTorah girls’ school. In time, she became the principal of the school, and turned it into a magnificent institution. She transformed the school and raised its level in all areas.

In London, families said they “sent their daughters to Mrs. Pinter’s school,” and everyone knew what they were referring to.

Her messages were simple and to the point: emunah, bitachon, tzniyus and a very deep emunas chachamim. She herself never did anything without asking advice from Gedolei Yisrael.

Her activities influenced the entire city; under her guidance, the subjects of tznius and chinuch habanos was firmly established across the community. Her school, which was the central school in the city, set the spiritual tone for the other ones.

She was very devoted to her students. During her illnesses, there were students who cried, saying that they felt like she was their mother. Whenever a student had an education related or family problem, the address was Mrs. Pinter.

Her days were devoted to avodas hakodesh. Until recently, she spent the entire day, from before 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon at the school.

She was the first chareidi person to get the OBE title from the Queen of England, for her activities in the field of education. Nevertheless, she insisted that the news not be publicized in the newspaper, saying that what she did for chinuch had to be completely l’Shem Shamayim, and she didn’t want to derive any benefit from it.

About half a year ago, she fell ill. Despite her suffering, she was a source of encouragement for all those around her. Throughout her illnesses, there wasn’t a drop of dejection or sadness; she saw the chessed in everything.

She always thought only about others, even during her illness. The nurses in the hospital said in her final days that they had never seen a patient who apologized for every little thing or thanked them so graciously for whatever they did.

Her final words on this world also had to do with giving to someone else. This week, her husband’s brother married off a child. She planned to make Sheva Brachos in her house on Shushan Purim. Every day that she felt up to it, she prepared something for the Sheva Brachos and placed it in the freezer. The night before her passing, her daughter said to her, “We’re getting ready for Sheva Brachos on Monday,” and despite her semiconscious state, she said, “Everything is in the freezer…”

She passed away yesterday, surrounded by a minyan of offspring and relatives, who recited Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim.

Her levayah departed yesterday from her home in London and passed by the school to which she devoted so much of her life. She asked that no hespedim be delivered, but her brother-in-law, Harav Yitzchak Berger, a Rosh Bais Din in Manchester, gave over three messages that she asked be conveyed.

The first was that as a principal and educator, one sometimes has to make a comment or put a person in his place. It was never intended to be a personal affront. The objective was always the benefit of the student. And being that there are people who are sensitive, she asked that forgiveness be asked in her name because her intentions were only good.

The second message was that she worked very hard to raise the level of the school in both limudei kodesh and chol. In general, her view was that if the head is empty of content, that is the source of all problems. A student needs to be busy with her studies. But academic demands are in accordance with each one’s abilities. There are some girls who are stronger and some with weaker abilities. One does not demand from a person more than the abilities he was given. But when it comes to tznius and Yiras Shamayim everyone has the ability and the maximum is required of him. She wanted it to be made clear that the entire education network was intended to attain these two things, and in these areas the maximum is demanded of each person.

The third message was that a person has to see where he can help another person, and wherever he sees an opening to do something — he should do it.

These three messages were actually the encapsulation of her life and her chinuch worldview. It was the most powerful hesped.

The levayah will arrive in Yerushalayim this morning.

The Pinters were zocheh to be meshadech with Gedolei Yisrael and eminent families. Mrs. Pinter is survived by her husband, Rabbi Avraham Pinter; her sons, Reb Yisrael and Reb Chaim; her daughters Mrs. Bruchie Kuteiner, Mrs. Rivky Weinberg, Mrs. Malky Halberstam, Mrs. Esther Shochet, and Mrs. Hadassah Borenstein; as well as five brothers.

Shivah will be observed until Thursday morning in London. The phone number is 011-44-2088801726.