Over the span of five decades, Rabbi Daniel Fogel z’l contributed in so many ways to the spiritual identify of North Shore Synagogue. But that is not the only contribution he has made as a spiritual leader.
Rabbi Fogel was deeply involved with supporting Soviet Jewry during the years when Jews were not allowed to emigrate. Under his leadership, the congregation adopted the Elbert family, who were trying to leave the Soviet Union. To remind the community of their oppression, a seat was reserved on the bimah, the raised platform on which the rabbi and cantor conduct services, during the High Holy Days for Leo Elbert. He was involved and led many other activities in support of Soviet Jewry, and this level of activism brought new congregants to North Shore Synagogue, who felt that other congregations were not doing enough for Soviet Jews.
Rabbi Fogel was also a leader in the Civil Rights movement, and was among a group of rabbis arrested on June 18, 1964 in St. Augustine, Florida for sitting in an integrated group in a restaurant in response to a request by Martin Luther King, Jr. You can read a letter composed by the group while incarcerated here: Why We Went.
He was also a large part of the creation of North Shore Synagogue’s Social Action Committee, the forerunner of today’s Mitzvah/Caring/Environmental Committee, in its involvement with so many varied cause that support the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (Repairing the World), something that is central to North Shore Synagogue.
Rabbi Fogel passed away on April 5, 2020. He will be remembered for his warmth and for his ethical, moral and spritual leadership that affected not just the North Shore Synagogue community, but well beyond the synagogue walls.