| Between Brothers |

Brother Knows Best: Rabbi Ari and Simcha D. Schonfeld

How well do the Schonfeld brothers know each other?

Rabbi Ari Schonfeld is an eighth grade rebbi at Yeshiva Beis Hillel of Passaic, New Jersey, the founder of Night Seder America, the director of Camp Eeshay and Camp Aish, and the incoming menahel at Yeshiva Ketana of Manhattan.

 

My brother’s favorite song:

the classic “Kah Echsof,” the one that’s sung at the tish of Reb Tzvi Meir in Eretz Yisrael. He walked down the aisle to it.

Favorite food:

steak, and it has to be so rare you’re not sure if the animal is alive or not.

Biggest fear:

swallowing a peanut (he’s highly allergic).

How my brother unwinds:

if you ever met Simcha, you’d know he doesn’t really ever unwind, but he does love to read.

My brother’s greatest strength:

thoroughness. If there’s a medical or legal issue in the family, he’s always the first and last call — and he won’t rest until every option is exhausted. Also, public speaking — Simcha is the keynote speaker of the family at every simchah. He is laugh-out-loud funny — often at my expense — and he has this incredible knack for uncovering old letters and stories that are poignant or hysterical.

When the going gets tough, my brother:

watches The Honeymooners or plays Strat-O-Matic baseball with his son.

My parents are proud of my brother because:

he is committed to his family above and beyond. Every family has its challenges — shalom bayis, parnassah, health — and my parents can sleep at night knowing their bechor is there for them and for us anytime, day or night.

Best perk of being my brother:

Simcha is independent, he likes to do things his way, and asking his little brother for help doesn’t come naturally to him. But my network of people is not small, and Simcha knows he can count on me to help with information for shidduchim or about a prospective rebbi or school for his children. It extends to his kids, too — my nephew Sruli knows he always has a job in my summer camp, and he’s a great counselor and griller!

My brother knows me so well that:

We’re avid fishermen, and last summer, we were debating going on a long trip. I told him I can’t make it work with my schedule, and even though Simcha knows that I don’t usually change my mind, he laughed and planned the trip anyway. P.S. I went.

 

Simcha D. Schonfeld Esq. is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Koss & Schonfeld in Brooklyn, New York.

 

My brother’s favorite song:

“Shomrei Mitzvoisehu” from Lchaim Tish 3

Favorite food:

macaroni

Biggest fear:

being spotted. I don’t want to elaborate, he will kill me 🙂

How my brother unwinds:

he doesn’t.

My brother’s greatest strength:

an insatiable appetite for success in all areas of his life, whether as MVP in the Staten lsland Jewish Baseball League, as a talmid of Rav Asher Arieli in the Mir, as a rebbi in yeshivah, and as a cyber rebbi to America through Night Seder America. Good enough has never been good enough for Ari.

When the going gets tough, my brother:

he’s the one that made it tough in the first place! He creates challenges for himself in his roles in Camp Eeshay, Camp Aish, and Night Seder America. He’s a daf yomi maggid shiur and a Yamim Noraim baal tefillah. Ari constantly challenges himself and toughens himself up to rise to his own challenges.

My parents are proud of my brother because:

he’s brought pride to the family name; like our father and grandfather, he’s a trailblazer and he’s forging a path in leadership. Ari’s impact is felt far beyond his own community.

Best perk of being my brother:

Well, he does like free legal advice!

My brother knows me so well that:

For my fortieth birthday he came to my house dressed up as me and sang a song about my — ah — less known personality traits. It was too funny to be insulting.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 854)

 

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