The honorary chair of the Turkish Jewish community, Bensiyon Pinto, has passed away at the age of 85, the Turkish Chief Rabbinate Foundation announced.
Pinto, the community’s first and only honorary chair, led the community from 1989 to 2003, according to Bianet.
His leadership in the community began in 1964 when he was a founding members of Yildirim Spor Kulubu (Yildirim Sports Club). In 1976, he was elected head of the Finance Committee of the Turkish Jewish Community. From 1979 to 1984, he served as the Vice President of the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey.
After taking a break from communal leadership, he was appointed chair of the Turkish Jewish community in 1989, a position he served in until 2003.
When he retired from his position, he was given the first and only title of Honorary Chair of the Turkish Jewish community.
In 2008, Pinto published his autobiography, My Life as a Turkish Jew: Memoirs of the President of the Turkish-Jewish Community 1989-2004, which was translated into English and German.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Bensiyon Pinto, the former president of the Turkish Jewish community,” the European Jewish Congress (EJC) said. “He was a great Jewish leader, whose legacy will stand as an example to all those who pursue harmony, unity, and peace. May his memory be a blessing.”