On Tuesday evening, July 18th, the Forshay community gathered en masse at the Monsey home of Mr. & Mrs. Yitzie Fogel, for what has become an annual inspirational highlight of the Three Weeks.
The Yosie Fogel z’l Memorial Reception on behalf of P’eylim / Lev L’Achim celebrates the memory of an unforgettable tzadik while at the same time perpetuating his passion for helping others. Yosie Fogel z’l devoted his heart and soul to help Lev L’Achim fund PROJECT RISHUM, their Torah school enrollment drive in Eretz Yisroel. And thanks to his efforts hundreds of boys and girls are today living lives committed to Torah U’Mitzvos.
Yosie’s legacy is propagated by the entire Fogel family, led by his brothers Shalom and Yitzie, who carry on the mission of reaching out to their neighbors and associates in order to boost the enrollment drive during the crucial final weeks before the new school year.
The Hanhala of Lev L’Achim, represented by the Director-General, Rav Eliezer Sorotzkin and by the renowned leader of the Israeli Teshuva Movement, Rav Uri Zohar and Rabbi Natan Chafetz, arrive each year to take part in the Reception and renew their ties with the Monsey community. Rav Zohar, once the celebrated king of the Israeli entertainment world, left behind fame and fortune to embrace Torah and in so doing set an example which thousands upon thousands of others have emulated.
Rav Ephraim Wachsman, Rosh Yeshivas Meor Yitzchok, was a longtime friend of Yosie Fogel z’l and delivered an impassioned speech at the Fogel event. Rav Wachsman remembered Reb Yosie as someone who embodied the words “Lev L’Achim” in his love of his fellow Jew and his devotion to the movement in Eretz Yisroel. The Rosh Yeshiva masterfully depicted what this z’chus means for the neshama of Yosie Fogel z’l, as hundreds of children grow up as Torah Jews and create entire families following in the mesorah of our forefathers.
The overflow audience, which filled the living and dining rooms and were directed to various parts of the Fogel home where they followed the proceedings via video-screen hookups, was treated as well to the new film “Each One A Miracle” showing Rav Uri Zohar interacting with newly enrolled children. To see the change in these children as they speak of their newfound aspirations to grow in Torah and Mitzvos despite the many obstacles they face, is to understand why so many people in Eretz Yosroel have devoted themselves to this amazing cause. The poignant stories of these children and the sight of them “shteiging” moved the audience beyond words.
The viewers were given as well a glimpse of the amazing scope of Lev L’Achim. Few realized that Lev L’Achim is in touch with 15,000 families on a daily basis or that more than 3000 children are enrolled in Torah schools each year. Others were shocked to learn that more than 17,000 people were reached by the men and women of Lev HaKotel at the Kosel HaMa’aravi day and night on the lookout for lost souls ready to let some religious inspiration in to their lives. For many in attendance, the biggest surprise was to learn that an entire segment of Lev L’Achim is dealing with the teenaged children of the frum community; helping to keep them in the fold and deal with the challenges they face in school and life.
As the speakers invoked the memory of Yosie Fogel z’l and his unparalleled devotion to his fellow Jew, it became clear why this great ohaiv Yisroel was so passionate about Lev L’Achim. May the many children who will taste the beauty of Torah for the first time this September thanks to this event, stand as a living tribute to the legacy of Yosie Fogel z’l and his partners at P’eylim / Lev L’Achim.