Rabbi Arthur Schneier Receives Golden Laurel Branch Award from the Foreign Ministry of Bulgaria







October 13, 2020 – Rabbi Arthur Schneier, President and Founder, Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Senior Rabbi, Park East Synagogue receives the highest award of the Foreign Ministry of Bulgaria, the “Golden Laurel Branch,” in recognition for “his outstanding merit to the promotion of interreligious and intercultural understanding,” presented by Ambassador Georgi Velikov Panayotov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations on behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ekaterina Zakharieva.

Rabbi Schneier and the interfaith Appeal of Conscience Foundation provided a lifeline of hope and support to all religious communities during the Communist Era, with particular help to sustain the Jews of Bulgaria who survived the Holocaust. Their survival was due to the heroic stand of the Patriarch and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and prominent intellectuals supported by the Bulgarian people who prevented their deportation demanded by Nazi Germany. “For me, the response of the Bulgarian people to the cry of the oppressed and not to remain silent in the face of tyranny is a role model of courage to save lives and an inspiration for others to follow.” said Vienna-born Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Arthur Schneier whose family perished in Auschwitz.

Kol Nidre Letter from Herman Hochberg, President

As we enter this New Year, we can only reflect on this past year and pray for the world to return to normalcy. What a difficult year this has been. Hopefully you and your loved ones have been safe and secure; but regardless, the year has certainly affected our lives in many difficult ways. With 5781 about to begin, our thoughts turn to our prayers and worshipping.

We at Park East have prepared our Synagogue for this year’s worshipping, both virtual and in-person. We have with all our efforts and not sparing any expense have made our House of Prayer as safe as can be. The preventive measures we have implemented include the hiring of airflow experts, top technicians, engineers and architects; as well as purchasing and installing the latest top quality equipment, including video temperature testing equipment, infrared panels in our ductwork to purify the airflow, stand-alone air purifiers throughout the building, and the finest disinfectants.

During these Holidays we are obligated to do Tzedakah. This year, more than ever, we are spending well over our budget to offer you virtual services as well as safely facilitate in-person services. Thus, I am requesting support for our 131-year-old Synagogue that has been serving the Upper East Side. For us to continue in this crisis, we would need your help by matching at least what you gave last year, or if possible, a bit more, to help us continue to be an anchor of Torah values and service to the Jewish people, assuring Jewish continuity through education of our children.

During this most difficult time, we were fortunate to have the steadfast spiritual leadership of Rabbi Arthur Schneier, his Rabbinic and Cantorial team, supported by the Administration led by Cantor Benny Rogosnitzky, and our dedicated teachers. They have helped us sustain faith and hope.

I wish you and your families a safe, healthy, prosperous, and most happy and fulfilled G’Mar Tov.

Herman Hochberg

Herman Hochberg, President

5781 High Holy Days: The importance of tzedaka.

Dear Members,

As we enter the 5781 High Holy Days we are reminded of the importance of tzedakah. Our historic 131-year-old community continues with our mission of L’dor V’dor, providing from generation to generation a fine Jewish education to hundreds of children from all backgrounds every week.  The COVID 19 crisis has forced us to deal with unprecedented needs in our community, beyond our continued need to meet our ongoing commitments to our valued members and families. we have had to spend Hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing our institution and facilities to physically accommodate our schools, prayers and programs. In addition to rising expenses on security, as our concerns for safety is unparalleled, we also are investing in technology for live streaming programming, services and classes to keep everyone connected during these times.

We ask for you to send your generous contribution early to our Kol Nidre Campaign.  We hope you can match last year’s contribution.   We are grateful for the early contributions already received.

Herman Hochberg, President

We’re Open for Shabbat Morning Services

“מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת. טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַה’ וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן”

“A psalm. A song for the Sabbath day.

It is good to praise the LORD, to sing hymns to Your name, O Most High”

Dear Park East Synagogue Family,

I pray that you and your loved ones are well, and are coping with the challenges of pandemic life.

While we have graduated from online to In person daily morning services, it is with great joy that we will start our Shabbat morning services this week, Saturday July 18th, 26 of Tammuz, Parashat Matot – Masei.

While we are excited to resume, we have prepared carefully to be able to open safely in our beautiful Main Sanctuary.

The abridged Shabbat Services will begin at 9:30AM.

In order to participate in the minyan please register here as we will limit the amount of participants. In addition please review the detailed guidelines here.

Advanced registration for attendance is required and cannot be accepted after 5pm on Thursday.

As we will conclude the Book of Bamidbar Numbers with the final Parasha speaking about the many journeys of the Jewish people in the desert, we must remember that en route to the Promised Land there are many stops, places that one must make in order to achieve what is valuable and precious in life.

Chazak Chazak Venitchazek,
With best wishes,

Rabbi Arthur Schneier

Rabbi Arthur Schneier Special 4th of July Message

Dear Park East Family,

As we celebrate Independence Day we must remember the contribution of the American people to the world and the integration of millions of people who came to this country in search for freedom and opportunity, including the waves of Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution and pogroms, and those who came after the Holocaust and gained a new lease on life. Our Country has not been immune from discrimination, anti-Semitism and racial injustice. G-d created an imperfect world in order for each one of us to help improve and perfect it. This is an ongoing challenge, particularly at a time of division, hatred and civil strife. The pandemic we endure has brought on so much pain, grief and suffering, it calls for united action in healing a wounded and divided country and world.

In our prayers, that can be heard once again in our Sanctuary, let us give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, with hope and commitment to build together a bright and just future for our children and children’s children.

G-d bless America!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Arthur Schneier

COVID-19 Important message from Park East Synagogue

Dear Members,

At this time of Coronavirus pandemic, we have to be guided by the principles of Jewish Law, Pekuach Nefesh – concern for human life and the sanctity of life, our highest commitment. We are implementing all the precautions recommended by Public Health and Medical Experts and guidelines given by City, State, and the Federal Government.

Al Tifrosh Min Hatzibur, Do not separate yourself from the Community, we must have consideration for the welfare of the entire community. Accordingly, with pain and prudence we are cancelling all Shabbat services for Friday, March 13 – Saturday, March 14. 

G-d can be found everywhere. We must intensify our prayers at home not only for ourselves and our family’s well being, but also prayers for those afflicted, reciting Psalm 121 and 130. We must continue the study of Torah, for Torah is the Tree of Life for those who hold on to it. And we must also pray for our scientists and doctors who are working to help prevent the spread of this virus that already has claimed too many lives. 

What is needed are my three P’s, Prayer, Perserverence and Patience, for there are no instant solutions. Faith amidst of fear. Fear debilitates, faith strengthens. 

Fear has overwhelmed us as we reflect on our vulnerability and frailty. We must remember and rally our strength and regain our confidence. Faith is the antidote to fear.

Hasem li V’lo Ira, G-d is with me, I shall not fear.

Chazak, Chazak V’Nitchazek, Be Strong, Be Strong, let us strengthen one another.

Shabbat Shalom. May it be a peaceful Shabbat.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier

United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony – Theme: 75 years after Auschwitz – Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice

27 January 2020

United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony – Theme: 75 years after Auschwitz – Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ending of the Second World War, and the ending of the Holocaust. 2020 also marks the establishment of the United Nations, formed in response to atrocity crimes of the Holocaust and the Second World War, with the aim of building a world that is just and peaceful. Acknowledging the milestone year, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme has chosen as the theme for Holocaust education and remembrance in 2020, “75 years after Auschwitz – Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice”. The theme reflects the continued importance, 75 years after the Holocaust, of collective action against antisemitism and other forms of bias to ensure respect for the dignity and human rights of all people everywhere.

The ceremony, taking place 75 years to the day of the liberation by the Soviet forces of Auschwitz Birkenau Nazi German concentration and extermination camp (1940-1945), will be hosted by Ms. Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. Invited speakers include the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the President of the seventy-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Permanent Representatives of Germany, Israel and the United States to the United Nations, Mr. Castro Wedamba, Chief of Office, Office on Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, and Holocaust survivors, Mr. Shraga Milstein and Ms. Irene Shashar. Judge Theodor Meron, who served as the President of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, will deliver the keynote speech. Cantor Shulem Lemmer will recite the memorial prayers. Mr. Itzhak Perlman will deliver a musical contribution.

Thursday, December, 13th, University of Miami commencement speaker Rabbi Arthur Schneier

Watsco Center
December 13, 2019





In the afternoon graduate degree ceremony for doctoral and master’s students, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, a Holocaust survivor who founded the Appeal of Conscience Foundation to promote tolerance, religious freedom, and human rights around the world, told the 560 graduates to “never give up, have faith, and do not be deterred by obstacles and hardship that may come your way.”

“Search beyond your immediate comfort zone of your particular field or your monetary desires,” said Schneier, who was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. “With wisdom and heart, make a commitment of carrying the torch of freedom forward for peace and unity in diversity. It is your turn to give back—just as I gave back to the blessed United States.”







CLICK HERE to read
Rabbi Arthur Schneier’s commencement speech.

Photos courtesy of the University of Miami.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier statement on New York Times anti-Semitism editorial.

Dear Members,

I call your attention to a New York Times editorial (link below) addressing growing concerns of anti-Semitism here in the United States and across Europe.

The New York Times editorial is another wake up call that portrays the widespread cancer of anti-Semitism in Europe and is an alert to American leaders of conscience to counter this hatred also metastasized in the United States. 

AM YISRAEL CHAI – it depends on every one of us.

31 October 2018

António Guterres Remarks at Interfaith Gathering: “United Against Hate”

Dear friends, all protocol observed,

I am here to express horror and solidarity. Horror in relation to the most abject act of anti-Semitism that has happened in the history of the United [States]. Something that makes us feel totally horrified but solidarity – solidarity with the victims, solidarity with the family, solidarity with the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and worldwide, and solidarity also with the people of Pittsburgh and the people of the United States of America who overwhelmingly reject this horrendous act.

Since I became Secretary-General, I have been raising my voice against what I believe is the rise of anti-Semitism in many of our societies and namely my part in the world in Europe but also unfortunately, here also in North America. It is not only anti-Semitism that we are witnessing rising. We see other forms of anti-religious hatred be it against Muslims. We have seen Christians and Yazidis being persecuted in the Middle East. We have seen so many situations where migrants and refugees become the scapegoat of the problems of societies. We see xenophobia and racism developing in many parts of the world. But it is true that anti-Semitism is the oldest and [most] permanent form of hatred against a people in the history of humankind. Jews are discriminated and persecuted for the simple reason that they are Jews.

With the climate of persecution and discrimination in the Roman empire, with everything that happened in the Middle Ages, I will never forget the history of my country, the discrimination and persecution of Jews in the Middle Ages and then culminating with the most stupid crime of Portuguese history, the expulsion of the Jews in the beginning of the 16th century. Criminal because of the suffering endured by the Jewish people, stupid because it had a very negative perspective in the prosperity of my own country. Then, as centuries went on with different manifestations in different parts of the world with more violence and more subtle, culminating in the horror of the Nazi Holocaust.

I must say, that probably with some naïve approach, that I always felt the Holocaust had been so horrible that rejection of what happened would be so universal that it would really make us feel so angry – with that total abjection, that anti-Semitism would tend to disappear in modern societies. It was with a certain amount of surprise that I have seen that progressively anti-Semitism is again on the rise. It’s on the rise especially in the developed world in ways that I find particularly intolerable.

Jews being again persecuted or discriminated or attacked for the simple reason that they are who they are. We see it in the internet, in hate speech, we see it in the way cemeteries are desecrated.  We now see it in this horrendous attack on a synagogue.

I believe it is important not only to denounce, not only to condemn these acts as any other act of xenophobia or racism, but it’s necessary to try to understand why this is happening.

Indeed, if one looks at our societies, we see seeds of division. We see people worried, afraid, insecure. Some because they were left behind by technological progress. Some because they don’t understand the movement of people and they don’t understand the richness of diversity.  Some because they are the victims of the negative impacts of globalization.

I believe that it is important to recognize that diversity is a richness not a threat.  Diversity will not necessarily be spontaneously harmonious. To make diversity harmonious we need to have a strong investment in the social cohesion of societies. In making sure that not only people tolerate each other, I know the rabbi and I dislike the word tolerance because the question is not that we tolerate each other, it’s that we respect each other and that we love each other.

This requires a huge investment in the social cohesion of our societies. So, I believe there is an enormous responsibility for leaders. Leaders of international organizations like mine. Political leaders, leaders of religious communities, leaders in civil society. Leaders to be able to address the root causes that are undermining the cohesion of our societies and that are creating conditions for these forms of hatred to become more and more frequent and more and more negative in the way they are expressed.

We need to make sure that there is a massive investment in education. We need to make sure there are safety nets allowing those that are the ones left behind by technical progress or globalization not to feel desperate in relation to the future.

We need to provide hope for our youth that sometimes also feel that there is not a clear perspective for the way to develop their lives in our societies. We need to make a huge investment in bringing people together, in making people feel that at the same time their very identity is respected but that they belong to the community as a whole.

Let’s be clear. We also need to be very firm in speaking up and combatting these new forms that are not only anti-semitism, I even see the roots of neo-Nazism growing. I was amazed a few months ago when, when in a demonstration, there were people shouting, “blood and soil.” Now for many common citizens, some of these expressions that are used have no special meaning.  They look like not so adequate forms of expression of patriotism. But now more and more words, more and more concepts, more and more ideas that we see on the internet, in many demonstrations in the expression of people, are deeply rooted in Nazi thinking. They have a special meaning in the Nazi ideology.

This is something we need to be very attentive in our societies because one of the logics of extremist organizations is to, in a subtle way, try to penetrate the mainstream and make some of their idiot ideas being accepted as a new normal in our societies.

We have to condemn. We have to speak up. We have to be very firm in denouncing horrendous acts like the one in Pittsburgh, but we need to assume our responsibilities as leaders to prevent these things from happening and to address the root causes that help them to develop.

Allow me a personal note. In what I read about the criminal that has done these horrendous acts, there is a reference that he was particularly shocked by the action of a humanitarian organization – HIAS – the Hebrew [Immigrant] Aid [Society].

I want to give you a testimony. As High Commissioner for Refugees, I worked with HIAS for many years. It is the most fantastic humanitarian organization I have ever met. They are the true expression of humanitarianism, but also humanism and solidarity. What they have done, what apparently this man was accusing them to do was to bring to the United States people in search of protection and to allow them to have a better life. I was particularly shocked that this organization that is the symbol of everything I considered good in the world being used as a pretext to justify this horrendous act.

Allow me to end, because I think HIAS is the true expression of that sentence, with a sentence of Leviticus. The sentence is “when strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you and you shall love them as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

May the wisdom of these words of Leviticus help us all understand the need to be very firm fighting anti-Semitism, fighting xenophobia, fighting racism, islamophobia and other forms of hatred in our societies.

I pray our common God to keep us united in the fight against hatred, because if you are united … [applause]