Mayor Eric Adams Underscores Commitment to Fighting Antisemitism in Visit to Park East Synagogue

Mayor Eric AdamsThe Park East Synagogue community welcomed Mayor Eric Adams to Shabbat services on May 14, 2022. Mayor Adams was greeted by the children at Toby Einsidler’s Children’s service, who sang Shabbat songs for him. After mingling with young families, Mayor Adams met briefly with Senior Rabbi Arthur Schneier before his address to the congregation in the main sanctuary. 

In his introductory remarks, Rabbi Schneier highlighted that the Mayor’s visit continues a long tradition of Mayoral visits to Park East, as every New York City Mayor since 1962 has addressed the congregation. Rabbi Schneier shared his memories of seeing the Statue of Liberty upon his arrival in New York City as an immigrant and Holocaust survivor in 1948, emphasizing the city’s history as a golden door for immigrants and a vibrant and diverse community. Rabbi Schneier commended the Mayor’s efforts to unite a city strained by division, polarization, the pandemic, and economic challenges. 

Following a standing ovation from Synagogue members, the Mayor stated, “You do not stand for me. I stand for you.” Sharing his perspective as a father, the Mayor acknowledged the Jewish community’s concerns about rising antisemitism and violence in the city. He stated his administration’s commitment to protect New York City’s Jewish community and stressed the importance of Jewish New Yorkers feeling safe and secure in their city. The Mayor highlighted his commitment to supporting New York City’s police officers in their mission to protect all New Yorkers. 

The Mayor detailed several of the city’s initiatives aligned with the goal of proactively preventing crime through investments in education, pointing to the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School’s tradition of academic excellence, illustrated by RASPEDS sixth grade student Masua Chaiken’s recent first-place win in the New York State Mathematics League Competition. He detailed how the city is investing in screening children for dyslexia, providing mentorship and support for young people in their transition from foster care to young adulthood, and addressing homelessness and connecting unsheltered New Yorkers with support services. 

The Mayor closed with a message of hope and optimism that together, we will move New York City in the right direction. “We’re going to tear down the walls of hate,” he said. 

 

Rabbi David Flatto Joins Park East Synagogue as Assistant Rabbi and Rabbinic Scholar

Dear Members,

We are pleased to advise you that, after an extensive interview process and upon the strong recommendation of our Executive Search Committee, Rabbi David Flatto will join Park East Synagogue as Assistant Rabbi and Rabbinic Scholar until he resumes his academic responsibilities at Hebrew University in the fall.

Rabbi Flatto’s background, education and demonstrated history of community leadership in both religious and academic settings make him an ideal match for our historic and vibrant Synagogue community. He received his B.A. and Ordination from Yeshiva University, his J.D. from Columbia University Law School, and his Ph.D. with distinction from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

He is a professor of law and Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a visiting scholar at Columbia University Law School, and served as a Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and the Ramaz Upper School from 2000 to 2007.

Rabbi Flatto’s wide-ranging research interests include Jewish law and philosophy and constitutional law and theory. He is the author of The Crown and the Courts: Separation of Powers in the Early Jewish Imagination and his works have been published in numerous scholarly publications. Beyond his Rabbinic scholarship, pastoral experience, and community outreach in New York City, he is a popular lecturer at synagogues, adult-education programs, and campuses across the United States and Israel.

During Rabbi Flatto’s tenure at Park East, the Assistant and Senior Rabbinic search and interviews will continue.

Please join us in offering a warm welcome to Rabbi Flatto and his wife, Yael, a faculty member at the Horace Mann School in the Counseling and Guidance Department in the Upper Division. Rabbi Flatto will be delivering the Sermon this coming Shabbat, February 12.

We look forward to your participation.

Best wishes,


Rabbi Arthur Schneier


Herman Hochberg
President

Park East Synagogue and United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Service Receives Global Media Coverage

Commemorating the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Service at Park East Synagogue on January 25, 2022 included remarks by His Excellency United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a Holocaust survivor. The service received in-depth coverage from UN News and the Associated Press, where it was syndicated globally.

“Having survived, I pledged I would devote my life to help eradicate antisemitism and any form of hatred to make sure that no other people would have to suffer the atrocities perpetrated on the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Schneier, Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue, who also serves as Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders that promotes peace, inter-religious cooperation and ethnic conflict resolution, which co-sponsored the program. 

The Diplomatic Corps and Holocaust survivors’ families participated in the program, along with the eighth grade students of the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School, who each shared the name, age and photograph of a child killed in the Holocaust.

Both Schneier and Guterres emphasized the importance of education in combating the resurgence of antisemitism and all forms of hateful rhetoric. “Let us stand firm against hate and bigotry anywhere and everywhere,” said Guterres. “Let us do the work of ‘tikkun olam’ – to do what we can to repair our world.”

In his closing remarks, Rabbi Schneier said, “In a world of turmoil, conflict, and confusion, may each one of us make a commitment on this 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a solid commitment that we will follow the mission statement of Patriarch Abraham, spiritual anchor for Jews, Christians, Muslims ‘to be a blessing’. May each one of us be a blessing to family, to country and to a hopefully united humanity.” 

Chief Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky, and the Park East Synagogue Choir, led by Maestro Russell Ger also joined the service.

Higher Committee of Human Fraternity Visits Park East Synagogue and Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School

The Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, an Independent committee consisting of a diverse set of international religious leaders, educational scholars, and cultural leaders, established by H.H. Pope Francis I and Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, met with Rabbi Arthur Schneier at Park East Synagogue and Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

The delegation members included: Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdelsalam, Secretary-General of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity; Irina Bokova, Former Director-General of UNESCO; Adama Dieng, Former UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide; Cardinal Miguel Ayuso Guixot, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue of the Holy See; Professor Mohamed Hussein Mahrasawi, President of Al-Azhar University; Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, Senior Rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation; and Latifa Ibn Ziaten, Founder and President of Imad ibn Ziaten Youth Association for Peace.

The students of the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School welcomed the delegation with Havenu Shalom and songs of peace; Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdelsalam and Cardinal Miguel Ayuso Guizot addressed the students and faculty.

Image credit: The Appeal of Conscience Foundation

 

Park East Synagogue Welcomes Austrian Consul General Helene Steinhäusl for Kristallnacht Commemoration

On Saturday, November 6, 2021, Austrian Consul General Helene Steinhäusl spoke at Park East Synagogue’s Kristallnacht Commemoration following Shabbat services. Addressing Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a Vienna-born Holocaust survivor, and an audience of more than 150 Synagogue members, Steinhäusl highlighted the progress Austria has made in preserving the memory of the Holocaust, compensating survivors and families through the Austrian National Fund, the nation’s fight against anti-Semitism and solidarity with Israel. 

Austrian Consul General Helene Steinhäusl
Austrian Consul General Helene Steinhäusl at Park East Synagogue. *Please note that this photo was taken before Shabbat.

Steinhäusl formerly served as Austrian Ambassador to Indonesia, East Timor and ASEAN, as Ambassador to UNESCO, and as Inspector General of the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna.

Kol Nidre Appeal 5782

Dear Members,

As we prepare to celebrate the 5872 High Holy Days season and launch our Kol Nidre Appeal, we do so with gratitude, confidence and optimism. As Rabbi Arthur Schneier recently remarked, “The prescription for the year ahead: be confident and don’t give up. Because the impossible is possible.” At this time last year, we prayed for a return to normalcy. We are especially grateful for the privilege of praying together in our beautiful sanctuary.

Thanks to our dedicated and innovative staff members and clergy, strict adherence to state and local guidelines and the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, we continue to provide vibrant services, educational programs, and a seamless sense of community for our members. We have also launched new programs, including an engaging NextGen minyan for young couples and professionals that will begin this September. Hundreds of children learn our Jewish heritage in our schools and at our youth activities.

Our continued commitment to state-of-the-art health and safety equipment, maintaining our services, programs and landmark 132-year-old Synagogue all require significant financial resources. The Kol Nidre Appeal is an essential part of our annual operating budget. We continue to invest in highly-trained security professionals and best available equipment to protect our Synagogue and school communities from threats. We need your help by matching at least what you gave last year, or if possible, a bit more, to ensure we can continue to serve the Jewish community for the next generation.

I wish you and yours a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Please make your tax-deductible donation today. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

With all good wishes,

Herman Hochberg
President

Click here to donate.

Austrian Chancellor Unites with Vienna-born
Holocaust Survivor Rabbi Arthur Schneier

“Sebastian Kurz, the young, dynamic Chancellor of Austria, an important leader of the European Union, has taken a leading role in combating the virus of global anti-Semitism and has been a supporter of peace and security for the State of Israel,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Vienna-born Holocaust survivor, Senior Rabbi of Park East Synagogue and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

“As a Holocaust survivor who had to flee my birthplace, Vienna, after witnessing the burning of my synagogue on Kristallnacht, it is heartening to see Chancellor Kurz, who represents the next generation, and has zero-tolerance for anti-Semitism and any form of bigotry while fostering mutual respect among all God’s children. Chancellor Kurz’s generation was spared the horrors of the Holocaust and WWII. He is helping to remember the past for the sake of a better future. His presence at Park East Synagogue, the first for a Chancellor of Austria, is indicative of his commitment to protect all Houses of Worship.”

“Chancellor Kurz embodies the values of religious freedom, human rights and peaceful coexistence, the core principles of the interfaith Appeal of Conscience Foundation.”

NYPD Commissioner Shea and FBI Assistant Director Sweeney Speak Out Against Anti-Semitic Crimes During Shabbat Visit to Park East Synagogue

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, addressed the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York when they spoke to congregants at Park East Synagogue at Shabbat services on Saturday, June 26th.

“As a Holocaust Survivor, I am distraught by the widespread virus of anti-Semitism and the increase of hate crimes directed at the Jewish community,” said Park East Synagogue Senior Rabbi, Arthur Schneier. “Unlike what I witnessed more than eighty years ago I am grateful that those responsible for protecting all citizens are standing with Jewish New Yorkers and are committed that anti-Semitic acts will not be tolerated and the perpetrators of those crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The NYPD has never, and will never, tolerate hate in our city in any form,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “One incident is one too many, and the recent rise in anti-Semitic crimes only strengthens our resolve to work hand-in-hand with our Jewish communities across the five boroughs. As we combat all forms of prejudice, we will continue to build trust and strengthen relationships to ensure that everyone, in every New York City neighborhood, is safe – and that they feel safe, too.”

“Hate crimes have no place in our society,” stated William Sweeney, Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “Everyone needs to know that they can help us confront new and emerging threats by sharing information through the trusting relationships we share, to include our close relationship with the NYPD. Working with the communities we serve helps us fully appreciate your needs and maintain awareness of the challenges you face.”  

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Rabbi Arthur Schneier on United Nations “Awake at Night” Podcast

Rabbi Arthur Schneier appeared on the United Nations “Awake at Night” podcast, hosted by  Melissa Fleming, the United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.

In the interview, Rabbi Schneier shares his experience as a Holocaust survivor who, after emigrating to the United States in 1949, has devoted his life to interreligious understanding, peace and human rights, as both Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue and the Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. He discusses his work as Deputy Permanent Representative for the United Nations General Assembly, his concerns about technology and the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and his hopes for the future.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Park East Synagogue and RASPEDS Annual Dinner 2021

On June 8, 2021, the Park East Synagogue and Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School communities gathered to celebrate at the Annual Dinner at Park East Synagogue.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier opened the program with a reflection on the community’s perseverance amid the COVID-19 pandemic and shared a message of optimism, stating, “The prescription for the year ahead: be confident and don’t give up. Because the impossible is possible.” 

Israel Nitzan, Acting Consul General of the state of Israel, addressed the Park East community and underscored the need for public officials to continue to combat anti-Semitism. Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, joined the celebration virtually, sharing their well wishes for the honorees.

S. Daniel Abraham was honored with the Humantarian Award and as Patron of Higher and Jewish Education in the United States and Israel. Lindsey Dresbach, granddaughter of Rabbi Arthur Schneier, accepted the award on Mr. Abraham’s behalf.

Lindsey Dresbach and Rabbi Arthur Schneier
Lindsey Dresbach accepts the Humanitarian Award on behalf of S. Daniel Abraham.

Dayna Langfan and Lawrence Heller were honored with the L’Dor V’Dor Award for Jewish Continuity and Education.

Dayna Langfan and Lawrence Heller with Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Herman Hochberg

Rebecca and David Zwillinger were honored as Patrons of Education. 

David and Rebecca Zwillinger with Rabbi Arthur Schneier

The teachers of the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School were honored collectively as educators of the year for their commitment to their students, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the video highlights from the 2021 Annual Dinner.

View the photo gallery:

Photography by Heidi Green.