The Queens Jewish Link has had the unique privilege of having Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld serve as our Rabbinical Consultant and esteemed contributor since inception. The rav’s heartfelt advice has made lasting impressions that positively affected the publication, Queens Jewry, and the Jewish community at large. Rabbi Schonfeld was called upon for advice quite often. Each time, he handled the situation with dignity, grace, and in a professional manner.
At the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills daf haYomi siyum on Meseches Chagigah, Yaakov Serle, co-publisher of the QJL, was allotted time for a presentation to the rav by Richie Spierer, event coordinator. The siyum marked the final one-of-its-kind that the rav will participate in at the helm of the congregation.
“Over the past ten years, Rabbi Schonfeld has always been available to us, and we appreciate every moment we stole from the rav from properly addressing his myriad of professional responsibilities, his family, or his health concerns,” said Yaakov. “You cannot imagine the number of requests from readers inquiring, ‘We heard Rabbi Schonfeld is moving, is he going to write?’ Here at the paper, we know how busy the rav is, and are forever grateful for whatever Rabbi Schonfeld chooses to continue contributing. We especially acknowledge the selfless dedication of Rebbetzin Peri for allowing her devoted husband to give of his precious time to our publication. We have no doubt that we have been a nuisance and we apologize for any distress.”
Yaakov also offered a bit of humor in his remark. When famed actor and comedian Lou Costello was a defendant in court, he spoke snidely to the presiding judge. The justice promptly replied, “You cannot speak to me that way; I have been on the bench for 25 years.” Costello snapped back, “25 years on the same bench?! So, you are just naturally lazy!” “Lazy” is not a word that exists in Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld’s dictionary.
Rabbi Schonfeld is headed into retirement from his leading rabbinical position at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, and will reside with his eishes chayil near family in Baltimore. The rav previously headed the Vaad Harabonim of Queens as President and has been the Rabbinical Consultant of this publication since inception. The rav was recently appointed President of the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), the largest rabbinic public policy organization in the United States. The CJV aims to advocate to the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court for classic Jewish ideas and standards in matters of American public policy by mobilizing its rabbis who are overwhelmingly pro-values and conservative, to stand in defense of the Biblical ideals that formed America’s moral foundation and inform the public of authentic Jewish views drawn from traditional Jewish thought, and their direct applicability to current public policy.
To acknowledge the departure, the QJL previously presented Rabbi Schonfeld with an exquisite mezuzah at our recent networking event but did not make a formal presentation so as not to conflict with the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills dinner in the honor of the Schonfelds.
By Shabsie Saphirstein and
Rebecca Rushfield Wittert