Rabbi Hugo Gryn - RE pioneer

23rd August 1996 at 01:00
Rabbi Hugo Gryn, writer, broadcaster, and a leading figure in the development of religious education, has died aged 66.

Probably best known in recent years for his emollient presence among the prickly panelists on BBC Radio 4's The Moral Maze, Hugo Gryn was a tireless worker across a range of fields, central among them education.

This was quite aside from his religious duties. Senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue, a centre of liberal Judaism, Hugo Gryn was one of the most respected figures in British Judaism as a whole.

He was the first major figure from a non-Christian faith to involve himself with religious education for the mass of British children. A survivor of Auschwitz, Rabbi Gryn saw RE as a force for tolerance and understanding among young peoples of different faiths, or no faith at all.

He was a longstanding member of the Religious Education Council - a meeting place of educationists and religious leaders - and chair of Westminster's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education.

He was one of the first co-chairs of the Inter-Faith Network and chair of the Standing Conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue in Education.

"What drew him to religious education was its potential for enabling youngers from different faiths and backgrounds to grow to understand each other, " said Gwen Palmer, a friend and colleague of Rabbi Gryn on the RE Council.

Barbara Wintersgill, professional officer for religious education with the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, said: "He's the sort of person a lot of teachers may not have heard of apart from through The Moral Maze. But behind the scenes he was highly influential. It's a huge loss."

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