Dayan Ehrentreu, who refused to meet Pope, dies at age of 90

THE former head of the Manchester Beth Din died yesterday in London’s Royal Free Hospital, aged 90, after a long illness.

Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu suffered an acute stroke in October, 2020, and never really recovered.

He was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, in 1932 and recalled his recollections of Kristallnacht, when he was aged six, in his book, A Generation Inspired.

“I vividly remember my late father being taken by the Gestapo to Dachau. I can still see the flames consuming the Torah scrolls, which had been removed from the Ark to the courtyard outside the synagogue to be burned,” he wrote.

Dayan Ehrentreu was named after his grandfather of the same name, the Munich Rav.

After his release from Dachau, Dayan Ehrentreu’s father, Rabbi Yisroel Ehrentreu, managed to escape to the UK with his family.

Dayan Ehrentreu studied in Letchworth, and at London’s Hasmonean High School and Gateshead Yeshiva.

In 1946 the Ehrentreus moved to Manchester, where his father became principal of Prestwich Jewish Day School.

In 1960, Dayan Ehrentreu founded the Sunderland Kollel where he stayed for 18 years. He then moved to Manchester where he was appointed Communal Rabbi, but he refused the title, preferring to be called Av Beth Din.

His stay in Manchester proved to be controversial. In 1982 he refused to meet Pope John Paul II on his visit to Manchester because a Reform rabbi was among the Jewish delegation.

He also refused to attend Mamlock House, because he deemed it to be associated with “secular Zionism”.

In 1984 he moved to London where he became Rosh of the London Beth Din.

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