Naim Dan­goor dies aged 101

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY CHAR­LOTTE OLIVER

SIR NAIM Dan­goor, the phi­lan­thropist who in­vested mil­lions of pounds over the years into im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion in the UK, has died at the age of 101.

His death comes five months af­ter the en­tre­pre­neur and self-ap­pointed “Ex­i­larch”, leader of Iraqi Jews liv­ing in Bri­tain, was made a knight — the old­est Jew to be given the ti­tle.

His son David Dan­goor said: “Dad passed away peace­fully with his four sons at his side. He will for­ever be a great in­spi­ra­tion to all his fam­ily and to manyother­swhose­liveshe­has­touched for the good.

“He was a proud Jew who was keen to demon­strate the pos­i­tive part that Jewish peo­ple bring to the wider com­mu­ni­ties in which they find them­selves.”

Born in Bagh­dad in 1914, the grand­son of the for­mer Chief Rabbi of Iraq Ezra Dan­goor, Sir Naim stud­ied engi­neer­ing in Lon­don in the 1930s, be­fore re­turn­ing to Iraq and run­ning the coun­try’s Co c a - C o l a fran­chise.

Th e r e he mar­ried Renée Dan­goor, the for­mer Miss Bagh­dad, who died in 2008, and had four sons. When it be­came too dif­fi­cult for Jews to re­main in Iraq in the 1960s, he sought asy­lum in the UK, bring­ing his fam­ily over in 1964.

He es­tab­lished a suc­cess­ful property de­vel­op­ment com­pany and founded the Ex­i­larch Foun­da­tion, which has helped to pro­vide school­ing for the need­i­est in so­ci­ety.

In 2004, it cre­ated the Dan­goor schol­ar­ships, a fund of £1 mil­lion to help univer­sity ap­pli­cants.

The foun­da­tion also set up the Eli­a­hou Dan­goor schol­ar­ships, spon­sor­ing 4,000 stu­dents, and was re­spon­si­ble for sup­port­ing schools, uni­ver­si­ties and the de­vel­op­ment of acad­e­mies. The emer­i­tus spir­i­tual head of the S and P Sephardi Com­mu­nity, Rabbi Abra­ham Levy, paid trib­ute to Sir Naim, say­ing his found­ing of a cen­tre for Iraqi Jews in Bri­tain over 40 years ago “did much to give Iraqi Jews the con­fi­dence to face their new lives in Lon­don”.

Board of Deputies pres­i­dent Jonathan Arkush said: “Sir Naim was a man of out­stand­ing tal­ents and ver­sa­til­ity… Above all he was a fine and de­cent per­son.”

PHOTO: JOHN RIFKIN

Sir Naim Dan­goor

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