OU Leadership Salutes Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld on His Retirement at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills

20 May 2011


From left: OU President Dr. Simcha Katz; Honorary President and Chairman of OU Press, Julius Berman; Chairman of the OU Kashrut Commission, Honorary President and Immediate Past Chairman of the Board, Harvey Blitz; Chairman of the Board and Immediate Past President, Stephen J. Savitsky. Seated: Rebbetzin Ruth Schonfeld.

When Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, the Founding Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, assumed the title this week of Rabbi Emeritus, 60 years after founding the synagogue — to be succeeded by his son and former deputy, Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, a 27-year veteran of the Orthodox Union — the leadership of the OU came out in force to the celebration held to mark the occasion. This is no surprise.

YIKGH is an Orthodox Union member synagogue, one of the most prestigious and thriving congregations in the OU network. In addition, Rabbi Schonfeld served in high-level Orthodox Union positions for at least 50 years, including the Joint Kashrut Commission; National Convention committees; Political Action committees; leadership of NCSY | Jewish Youth Leadership and its Ben Zakkai Honor Society; member of the Board of Governors; and his current position, member of the Board of Trustees.

In 2008, he was one of the distinguished rabbis featured in the Jewish Action cover story, “50 Years in the Pulpit: Seven Veteran Rabbis Tell it Like it Was.” In that story in the OU magazine, he was quoted as saying, “The only thing we can do is what the OU is doing, the Rabbinical Council of America is doing, the yeshivahs are doing – and that is to get people to not only study Torah, but to also practice Torah. We need to infuse [Jews] with a spirit of loyalty to Torah, not just within the synagogue alone – in every part of Jewish communal life.”

OU President Dr. Simcha Katz, who led the Orthodox Union delegation to the celebration, declared: “It has been my great honor to have known Rabbi Schonfeld for over thirty years. We worked together on many issues of kashrut and his wise leadership and guidance helped shape OU Kosher into the most respected and best known kashrut organization in the world. Rabbi Schonfeld’s advice on all issues of importance was sought and valued by all of us in the OU lay leadership.”

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