A Legendary Askan: Rabbi Abba Dunner zt”l


aba-dunnerIt is with immense sadness that we report the passing of Rabbi Aba (Avrohom Moshe) Dunner zt”l, one of the foremost askanim in the world, who devoted his life to the furtherance of Yiddishkeit and protecting themesorah of Torah. He was 74.

Rav Aba was born in 1937 in Konigsberg, Germany, as the oldest son of Rav Yosef Tzvi and Rebbetzin Yetta Dunner. Rav Yosef Tzvi served as chief rabbi of East Prussia before World War II and was rov of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London from 1960 to 2007. He also served as the rov of the Adas Yisroel Shul, set up the London Beis Yaakov Seminary, and was the European President of Agudas Yisroel. The Dunners escaped to England in 1938 and ultimately settled in England in 1947.

Rav Aba grew up in a home of rabbonus and askanus, and the ideals of his illustrious father became ingrained in him, serving him well for the many, many subsequent years during which he devoted himself wholly to the needs of the global Torah community.

In 1960, Rav Aba married Miriam Cohen of Rotterdam and the young couple settled in Stamford Hill and later in Golders Green.

Like his illustrious father, Rav Aba was brave and undaunted in his role as a community askan and an emissary of gedolei Yisroel for decades. He never cowered under pressure or threats, but stood steadfast in his beliefs and the campaigns he championed. At the same time, his humility was astounding.

Whether it was regarding chinuch, kashrus, mesorah, helping the destitute or assisting those in need, Rav Aba was ever-present, always shifting credit to others while working tirelessly behind the scenes. He built dozens of mikvaos the world over and worked to spread Torah and mussar in many locales. Most recently, Rav Aba devoted himself to helping the boys incarcerated in Japan, doing all he could to ease their plight and return them to their homes.

Rav Aba was a talented orator, and influenced thousands over the years with his powerful speeches and remarks, always delivered straight from a heart that beat with pure ahavas Yisroel and ahavas Hashem.

There were few people like Rav Aba Dunner, a humble servant of the Ribono Shel Olam and His people.

We are bereft.

Rav Aba succumbed to an illness that he had battled for a while. This past week, as his condition deteriorated, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rav Chaim Kanievsky suggested that the name Refoel be added as a zechus for his recovery. Unfortunately, his neshamah returned to its Creator yesterday.

Rav Aba was predeceased by his son, the renowned baal chessed, Reb Bentzion Dunner of London. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, three sons and a daughter, and eight siblings. His brothers include Rav Eliezer Dunner, rov of the Adas Yisroel Shul and member of Badatz Shearis Yisroel; Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner of London; and Rav Yehudah Aryeh Dunner, rov of Bais Medrash Divrei Shir. His children are R’ Yitzchok Dunner, R’ Pini Dunner, R’ Zev Dunner and Mrs. Hadassah Leblanc.

His son, R’ Zev, of Lakewood, is the director of Torah Umesorah’s renowned Project Seed program.

The levaya is being held today at the Adas Yisroel Shul in London.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Shmiel Gellman-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Chaval al hay shufrah deboloh be’areh. What a wonderful kind person. A loss to Klal Yisroel and English Jewry in specific.

  2. Unbeliveable a person dedicated to the klal with parents, siblings and children following in his footsteps, a true rarity, an entire family entirely devoted to doing selflessly for the klal, not for fame, just lishem shumayim. As was symbolised by a story he told by a recent dinner for Bonei Olam, he told a story of the reknowned Reb Moshe Sherer, head of Agudas Yisroel, who was at the end of his life and ignored doctors orders not to shake the kids at camp Hascs hands, his son reprimanded him, he told his son, I simply cannot refrain its my mission in life Ahavas Yisroel. Rav Aba Dunner was exactly the same, he ignored his recent illness and did endless askunis for the boys in Japan, for Bonei Olum, and countless other acts of chesed! Most people would have said thats it, I’m very ill I just can’t do anymore, but not Reb Aba Duner, he ignored his illness and just ran around, to Japan and America and loads of other places, working for the klal. Yhi zichroi buruch.

  3. I feel completely week and dumb, to have heard the passing of the great Reb Abba Dunner. Our family who came from Italy, and settled down in London, will always remember his angelic smile to all od us, whenever we met, such an angelic warmth we all used to feel, when we would meet. We feel, as if we have lost a father, we feel we have lost our teacher, we feel the warm tears run down our cheek and NO REB ABBA anymore, to comfort us, once again.
    from your neigbour in THE VALE