December 15, 2020 – The Rabbinical Council of America, the leading membership organization of rabbis in North America, mourns the loss of its distinguished colleague and past president, Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld, of blessed memory. The nonagenarian Rabbi Schonfeld was one of the architects and builders of the contemporary Orthodox community, having served for over sixty years as rabbi of Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Among his many activities he taught at Yeshiva University, founded and served on the Vaad Harabbonim of Queens, on the Joint Commission of the Orthodox Union, as co-chairman of the Interreligious Affairs Committee of the Synagogue Council America, as president of Poalei Agudath Israel, as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations, and as secretary of the American Section of the World Jewish Congress. He was president of the RCA from 1974-1976 and served as its representation to IJCIC (the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations) for many decades. Throughout his life he remained active and concerned about the affairs of the RCA was eager to share his advice and guidance.
Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, president of the RCA, said. “Rabbi Schonfeld was a rabbi’s rabbi. He was a master orator and raconteur and was a prestigious scholar. He warmly shared his advice and guidance with generations of rabbis, young and old, and took a personal interest in everyone he met, congregant and colleague alike, all with grace and good humor. He represented the Orthodox community and the cause of Religious Zionism with dignity and earned the respect of everyone he met.”
Rabbi Binyamin Blau, vice president of the RCA, said, “Rabbi Schonfeld was proud of his association with his rebbe muvhak, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, of blessed memory. He widely shared and carefully protected the teachings and legacy of the Rav. Likewise, he was devoted to the Gerrer Hassidic dynasty, always quoting from the various grand rabbis of the movement. His warmth and leadership will be sorely missed.”