Daniel Vogel '76-'88

 Q: When did you attend Hillel Academy? 

 A: 1976-1988

Q: Share a favorite memory or two with our readers? 

 A: I always enjoyed learning in Rabbi Nadoff's zt"l classes. He was a good teacher, but also understanding and kind to a group of boys that had a lot of energy! I vividly remember when we were learning Lech Lecha and we got to the portion of Bris Milah, in a lighter moment he went around the class naming the boys he had been the mohel for. I think there were only two or three out of the group of us that were not counted.

Q: What organizations are you currently involved in? 


A: I am about to retire after 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy. Besides being in the military, I am a member of my synagogue's executive board and have also served on the local DC area JNF board. 

 Q: How do you earn a living? 

 A: I am in the process of transitioning from being a Naval Officer to a new job. My last day of Active Duty will be December 31, 2014. I went into the Navy straight out of college and so the job searching process has been something new. While I know that it will be hard to beat the adrenaline rush of flying on and off of aircraft carriers, I'm looking forward to this new phase in my life.

Q: Tell me about what you did for the Navy?

A: I am (was) a Naval Flight Officer.  While I flew in airplanes, my duties were different than the pilot's.  I ran all the communications gear, took care of the navigation and weapons systems, etc.  In my first fleet airplane, the S-3 Viking, now since retired from service, I got to sit up front.  There was a stick on my side of the airplane that I could use to fly, and sometimes I would, but most of the time I was busy doing my stuff.  Later I flew in the back of the E-2C Hawkeye, just as busy, but not as good a view. Great times flying on and off aircraft carriers.


Q: Share a memorable experience from in the Navy with our readers.

A: Memorable experience with the Navy - how about leading a Pesach Seder on an aircraft carrier during a deployment to the Persian Gulf.  Really was worth the considerable effort we put into it, to include arranging for special shipments of food from the US. Parceling out kosher for Pesach Seder kits to the other ships in our strike group, and kashering the Captain's kitchen oven to prepare a double wrapped potato kugel which baruch Hashem cooked perfectly!


Q: This past Tuesday was Veterans Day, can you reflect on that for us please. 

A: Reflecting on Veterans Day is always something I try to do.  Today I landed in an airplane coming into Washington Reagan and had a view of Arlington Cemetery where so many of our Nation's heroes are now buried.  While many there passed away from natural causes, there are many there who paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy and the safety we have day in and day out here in the U.S.  Some of those faced much more daunting issues than I ever had to during my career, and I am grateful for the support of a wonderful family, as well as all of those in our different communities during my almost 20 years of service on Active Duty.  I know there was a time when many veterans could not say the same thing and I hope that as a country we stay the course on how we treat those who have entered into service, regardless of the time they spent doing so or the rank they achieved.


Q: How did Hillel Academy prepare you for the future?


A: Hillel gave me the tools to excel both in the Jewish and secular world. I appreciate that I was given a strong foundation in many areas of learning. I became exposed to some of the less observant segments of Judaism during my time in the Navy, and when asked how I had developed certain Jewish "skills" my answer was always, "I went to an Orthodox Hebrew Day School." At the same time, I have never felt behind my peers in my day to day secular activities because of my Hillel experience whether during college or in the Navy. The days may have been long, but the knowledge was priceless.

Q: Share some info about your family. 

 A: I am blessed to have a wonderful and supportive wife Julie and three great children. Ruthie, 13, Joseph, about to be 12, and Tali, about to be 8. We live in Silver Spring, Maryland and the kids currently are in various grades of Orthodox schooling. As a military man, none of the kids have birth certificates from the same state.

Q: What do you do in your free time? 

 A: Besides community and family involvement, the other main activity I have is running. I just completed my 3rd Marine Corps Marathon, and as a Boston Marathon qualifier hope to complete the Boston Marathon in 2015 with Hashem's help. I couldn't run it in 2014 because it was on the seventh day of Pesach, but when 

I contacted them about that issue, they were kind enough to give me an entry in 2015 even though I didn't run a marathon in the 2015 qualifying window.

Q: Share with our cross country runners how you run through pain or how do you finish a race when you feel like you have nothing left?
A: First off - you should always cross that line feeling like you gave it everything!  The key is not to give everything too early.  Learning to run within yourself can only happen for most of us by endless repetition (that means lots of practice) to learn how your body feels at different paces.  Intervals are a great way of how to learn to run with pain, but also longer runs are important too.  One of the early things I learned about running was that the faster I got done with the race, the quicker that pain would be over.  I also learned that you always need to stay upbeat about what you are doing.  I've run marathons where I hit the 20 mile point and you hear some people say, "I can't believe I have 6 more miles to run!"  My thought process always is that, "I've already run 20, what's another 6?"  If you train consistently then you should already know that you can do it.  Running is 90% mental, the only reason the volume of training is important is to give you the confidence in your fitness and the familiarity with your running to complete whatever distance you are competing at from 200 meters to 26.2 miles and beyond.
Q: What is the perfect food to eat on race day?

A: The perfect food to eat on race day is something that you know your stomach tolerates and that won't make you feel too heavy.  THE REQUIRED thing to drink on any race day is water, before the race and after. For a 5K you should be sufficiently hydrated before you start that you have no need to drink during.  It's an unneeded distraction.  However, if you haven't hydrated enough prior, get ready for some pain.


Q: Hillel Trivia - How many parking spaces in the lot? 


A: There wasn't a lot when I went there. Where the lot is was a house for most of my time in Hillel.

 Q: Who was your first Hillel teacher?

A: Mrs. Nina Butler

Q: What was your favorite class? 

 A: Is it wrong to say gym class?

Q: Did you have a favorite teacher? Who was it and why?

 A: I can't say that during my time in Hillel there was one teacher that was my favorite. There are many teachers that I am grateful for their patience and teaching. However, one teacher in early High School English, Dr. Susan Smerd, had a profound impact on my future because she constantly drilled us on vocabulary to get us ready for our PSAT and SAT. That led to being selected as a National Merit Semi-Finalist due to my PSAT score. This directly impacted where I went to university and the Navy ROTC unit that I eventually was commissioned from.

 Q: Share something with our students you wish someone had told you when you were in school?


A: There isn't one thing that really stands out. Enjoy this time where your only "job" is to learn. Depending on how you make your living later on in life, this may be one of the only times where that is the case and so you should make the most of it while you can. Of course, thinking back, I don't think I appreciated the luxury of being able to learn without other distractions.

 Q: Do you have any Naval Chavrusas

A: I don't have any Naval Chavrusas right now, most of the time I've had chavrusas in the communities where I've lived.

Thank you very much!