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.
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.
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.
“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 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.”
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.
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.
Dayna Langfan and Lawrence Heller were honored with the L’Dor V’Dor Award for Jewish Continuity and Education.
Rebecca and David Zwillinger were honored as Patrons of Education.
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.
Following an introduction by High Representative Miguel Moratinos, Rabbi Schneier, who serves as UNAOC Goodwill Ambassador, reflected on his experience as a Holocaust survivor and highlighted the prevalence of anti-Semitism today. “Anti-Semitism has survived millennia because it constantly adapts… United, we must rise to counter its latest form,” he stated, pointing to the spread of hatred on social media and digital platforms and highlighting the need for greater governance.
Rabbi Schneier recognized the hero diplomats who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, and acknowledged the United Nations for its 2008 resolution, adopted by 120 countries, to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day each year on January 27.
Closing with a blessing for a joyful and peaceful Easter and Passover holiday, he said, “May they usher in healing for a wounded world and a divided humanity. And, united, we will prevail.”
Rabbi Schneier’s remarks can be viewed at the 18:28 mark in the video below.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier pointed to the rise of hate and anti-Semitism in the world today and underscored the importance of Holocaust education in schools, stating, “Children are not born with hatred. They are taught how to hate. When infected, they become carriers of hatred. The antidote is education, education, education.”
In his remarks, UN Secretary-General António Guterres encouraged “coordinated global action, on the scale of the threat we face, to build an alliance against the growth and spread of neo-Nazism and white supremacy, and to fight propaganda and disinformation… Prevention is key to the fight against anti-Semitism, and I sincerely thank Rabbi Schneier and all those who work with and for the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for their efforts to promote interfaith understanding.”
The urgency of purpose that spurred the establishment of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust 15 years ago is more manifest than ever. In our time of societal, economic and political upheaval, demonization of “the Other”, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and racism are flourishing.
On 24 January 2005, I was humbled to be asked by the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations, and with special permission from then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, to recite Kaddish—the mourner’s prayer—at the opening of “Auschwitz: The Depth of the Abyss”, an exhibition of photos and sketches depicting scenes from that hell on Earth. I scoured the display in hope and fear, thinking I might find my own grandparents among the doomed souls deported from Hungary who perished at Auschwitz.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier is Senior Rabbi, Park East Synagogue; Founder and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation; Former United States Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations General Assembly; and Member of the High-Level Group and Ambassador of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
October 28, 2020 – Rabbi Arthur Schneier will be honored today by Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary, with a plaque celebrating his 90th birthday and his support of Hungarian Jewry. The award, presented by Dr. Róbert Frölich, Chief Rabbi of the Dohány Street Synagogue, recognizes Rabbi Schneier’s decades of leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and tolerance. United States Ambassador to Hungary David B. Cornstein, a member of Park East Synagogue, will accept the honor on Schneier’s behalf.
Born in Vienna, Austria and raised in Hungary, Rabbi Schneier, a Holocaust survivor, has served as Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue in New York for more than 50 years. He is the founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders that promotes peace, inter-religious cooperation and ethnic conflict resolution.
About Park East Synagogue
Founded in 1888, Park East Synagogue is an historic New York City landmark house of worship and one of the nation’s leading modern Orthodox congregations. It plays a vital role in the cultural, civic and spiritual life of New York City. The Synagogue is dedicated to providing the opportunity for spiritual growth, Jewish education and spiritual comfort for individuals, families, and our community. Park East Synagogue is inclusive of all people seeking a meaningful Jewish life, regardless of degree of observance, knowledge of Jewish tradition, age, or affiliation.
Park East Synagogue is committed to providing inspiring Jewish and general studies education to children and to adults; its Religious School, Early Childhood, and Day School with its emphasis on cultivating a Jewish life rich in tradition and unrivaled in general studies has been, and continues to be, a source of character and vitality for its congregation. The synagogue’s influence, strength and dynamism in the community derive from the members of our congregation. We value and honor the role our congregants fulfill in defining and shaping our future and that of the Jewish community, in New York City and beyond. Visit parkeastsynagogue.org