Professor Ludwik Finkelstein, the distinguished scientist and accomplished Reform educator, died in London on Saturday aged 81.
Hendon Reform Synagogue’s Rabbi Steven Katz paid tribute to a “remarkable man whose three passions in life were family, Judaism in all its facets and his academic expertise.
“He was a man of great modesty who didn’t carry his academic achievements on his sleeve – although it would have been a very heavy sleeve.”
Born in Lvov Poland and deported to the Ukraine by the Soviets in 1941, Professor Finkelstein came with his family to the UK after the war. Having worked as a physicist in the electronics industry and for the National University, he became an expert in measurement and science technology at City University.
He also served as chief regional adviser for greater London for the Home Office’s scientific service for Home Defence.
He was, said Rabbi Katz, “highly knowledgeable” about Judaism, one of the lay readers at Hendon Reform and a teacher there of both adults and children.
Five years ago he gained a doctorate from Leo Baeck College on Polish-Jewish history – a subject he was still studying during his final days. On the eve of his death he recited the father’s traditional blessings of his children before kiddush in his hospice room.
Two years ago Professor Finkelstein had was what believed to be the unique distinction of being in Who’s Who together with all three of his children: computer scientist Anthony, journalist Daniel and civil servant Tamara.