A full list of questions put to Rabbi Pinter and links to his answers can be found here.
When a community is growing this fast where does it end?
Rabbi Pinter: We tried to have discussions in regards to the Woodberry Down where the council were building over 4000 new homes. Rather then those homes being sold to speculators in the Far East, there should have been an opportunity for a small part of that development to be made available to meet the housing needs of local people. We have explored expanding out of the community and we have even looked at setting up a new community in other locations . But there’s never been enough of a local will for any of this to happen. That’s why I’m saying people in both central and local government will need to take a leading role for that to happen.
I think one of the problems is that those that can afford it will always find themselves a solution and those who are more likely to move out are poorer and don’t have the means to set up communities with the needed infrastructure.
But if the community is growing this fast when does it reach an equilibrium? Basically do you not believe that people can have too many children?
Rabbi Pinter: We live in a country populated by 60 million people and we’re talking about a community of 20,000. We’re not going to over-run the country. Let me put it into context, all I am trying to say is that with a bit of planning and a look at proper strategy - and with help from the powers to be - solutions can be found.
But would you ever advise someone not to have too many children?
Rabbi Pinter: I’m not in that position of authority; I leave that to the Rabbis. A couple will make their own decision about whether and to what extent to control their fertility, often with their Rabbi’s guidance. I myself have a large family but in a sense I cheated! I have two sets of twins, and a total of seven children. I have always aimed for and believed that I am responsible for helping my children reach their maximum potential.
I am proud to say that they are now contributing to society and are bringing up their own children. My children are my proudest achievement. So if you ask me, the size of families should not be an issue.
Could society work if we all had this many children?
Rabbi Pinter: I have never subscribed to the view of social engineering in any form or shape.
What is the Charedi attitude to contraception?