Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes: Rabbi Refael Schoenfeld, 59


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The world lost another giant last week, with the passing of 59-year-old father of 12 Rabbi Refael Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld was famous throughout Israel for his volunteer work with ZAKA and the Cheva Kadisha. He dedicated his life to giving others a proper Jewish burial. It was with tremendous pain that his colleagues buried him after his life was taken by COVID-19.

More pained than the countless families who had benefited from Rabbi Schoenfeld’s chesed, however, was his own widow and 12 children. They have anxiously awaited his return from the hospital since last month, and have now had to accept that their father is never coming home.

An emergency fund has been started to help the Schoenfeld navigate the future. The fund asks an interesting question, which causes us to re-evaluate the tremendous value of what volunteer heroes do for free:

“We ask you to please take a moment to imagine, if Rabbi Schoenfeld had been paid for his hours volunteering. Doing difficult, painful work that most would be unable to handle. Imagine if he had been paid what he deserved and if that money had gone toward supporting his household. Imagine the amount that work was worth – an unimaginable amount – enough for his family to be comfortable for years to come! But of course he happily gave of himself and saved the reward for the world to come.

However now his children are left without the financial basis for a future. Now we must join together to repay Rabbi Schoenfeld for his tremendous impact on klal yisroel, by providing his devastated widow & children with comfort & stability. This is our way to say Thank you.’”

Those who are able to say “Thank you” to Rabbi Schoenfeld by donating to help his family can do so here for a limited time.