Dayan Abraham David
Born in Rangoon, Burma to a family originally from Iraq, his father was an Ish Tam v’Yashar and his mother a Tzadeket with a great love for the Torah and Ma-asim Tovim.
He came to the U.K. as a teenager and obtained the highest marks of the country in his “A” Levels which earned him a scholarship to the Royal Air Force in London. He spent some time in Stamford Hill in North London where he obtained his interest in Torah and went on to study in Gateshead Yeshiva in 1957. There he studied until 1964 and was one of the top students. From Gateshead he went to study in Brisk Yeshiva in Israel where he married his wife Ruth. He then returned with her to the prestigious Gateshead Kollel and studied there in until 1973, when he was called to a teaching position at the Sephardi Porat Yosef Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he was close to the Sephardi Chief Rabbis Ovadia Yosef and then Mordechai Eliyahu.
In 1976, he was invited to start a Kollel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which he headed, producing a generation of Torah scholars and leaders now serving throughout South America. In 1980, he was appointed Rabbi of the well-known Syrian Community of Shuba Israel.
He then answered the call of his community in London and sought the agreement of Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach Z’L before taking over the guardianship of Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva in Hendon in 1985.
This was a turning point in the history of the Od Yosef Hai Community. Under his leadership our community is growing and prospering. Of Yosef Hai has developed a reputation for its religious sincerity and compassion. He unstintingly answers the call of anyone in need , be he rich or poor, member or non member, eastern or western – and seeks no material benefit.
His guidance has changed and shaped the lives of many. New members are attracted from both the local and surrounding areas with families moving home to be near Od Yosef Hai.
His deep knowledge of the Torah is for the benefit of all who wants to avail of it. He has nurtured a stronger awareness and appreciation of the of the Torah in our community and his call to learning “Let’s Learn a Jewish Word” rings daily in our ears.
His was the vision that brought us from the makeshift synagogue and Yeshiva in Hendon Way to the magnificent building in Finchley Lane in 1993. This was not just a physical improvement to the premises, it also provided an opportunity for a wider spiritual uplifting which Dayan David did not miss. Under his direction and guardianship we now provide a wide range of facilities and activities.
In September 1999, he opened the OYH Kindergarten which with over 70 children enrolled. It very quickly demonstrated overwhelming success. The natural progression caused the establishment of the New OYH Primary School which opened its doors in September 2001. The school was renamed “The Nancy Reuben Primary School” named after Nancy Reuben, the mother of The Reuben Brothers whose family together with the Reuben Foundation has supported the school since its inception. Dayan David continues to act as the Rabbinic Principal of the school.
In May 2018, Dayan David who had already been a member of the Sephardi Beth Din (Court of Jewish Law) for over 25 years, was appointed its head and on taking up this role, he said, “We look forward to bringing together the new generation of great Sephardi Torah scholars and leaders we have in this country to the forefront, to enhance and secure the future of Torah and our traditions in Halachah, Psak [rabbinic decision] and Kashrut.”
Dayan David’s vision and dedication has brought us to where we are today and he has great plans for the future.