Honoring Rabbi Arthur Schneier on the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of his installation as the Rabbi of Park East Synagogue on...

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LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION paying tribute to Rabbi Arthur Schneier upon the
occasion of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of his installation
as the Rabbi and spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue on March 18,

WHEREAS, Spiritual guidance and nurturing are of great import to the
vitality and well-being of all people and every community of this great
State and nation, and of all nations; and
WHEREAS, The character and richness of life are nourished and
fulfilled through the concern and selfless devotion of those, such as
Rabbi Arthur Schneier, who dedicate their purposeful lives in service to
their faith and to the enhancement of the quality of life of others; and
WHEREAS, Attendant to such concern and in full accord with its long-
standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to honor
Rabbi Schneier upon the occasion of the celebration, on March 18, 2012,
of the 50th Anniversary of his installation as the Rabbi and spiritual
leader of New York City's Park East Synagogue; and
WHEREAS, Born in Vienna, Austria on March 20, 1930, Rabbi Schneier,
who is married to Elisabeth Nordmann Schneier, lived under Nazi occupa-
tion in Budapest during World War II and arrived in the United States in
1947; and
WHEREAS, In addition to his long and exemplary service as Park East
Synagogue's Senior Rabbi, Rabbi Arthur Schneier is internationally known
for his leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights and
tolerance, with specific interest in China, Russia, Central Europe and
the Balkans; he is the Founder and, since 1965, President of the Appeal
of Conscience Foundation; and
WHEREAS, A Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Schneier is known as well, for
his pioneering role in the struggle on behalf of Soviet Jewry and the
rebuilding of Jewish religious life in Russia, the Ukraine and Eastern
Europe; he has successfully negotiated the return of the Moscow Syna-
gogue to the Jewish community and was instrumental in the restoration of
the Ohel Rachel Synagogue in Shanghai and, as part of President
Clinton's delegation to China, Rabbi Schneier was privileged to present
the Ohel Rachel Synagogue with its first Torah scroll in more than 50
years, a Torah donated by Park East Synagogue; and
WHEREAS, A staunch supporter of Israel, he has had personal contacts
with Prime Ministers Begin, Rabin, Shamir, Peres, Netanyahu, Barak and
Sharon urging them to help in the struggle on behalf of Soviet Jewry and
peace in the Middle East; and
WHEREAS, Appointed by President Reagan as a U.S. Alternate Represen-
tative to the U.N. General Assembly and by President George H. Bush as
Chairman of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Herit-
age Abroad, Rabbi Schneier was one of three American religious leaders
appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to start the first dialogue on
religious freedom with President Jiang Zemin and other top Chinese lead-
ers; he initiated the Resolution for the Protection of Religious Sites,
adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2001; and in 2004, he was named
by President George W. Bush as a member of the U.S. delegation to the
Stockholm International Forum for the Prevention of Genocide; and
WHEREAS, In addition, Rabbi Schneier was recently appointed by United
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to the High-Level Group, Alliance
of Civilizations, a distinguished group whose goal is to bridge divi-
sions between societies exploited by extremists and among societies in
which prejudices, misconceptions, and polarizations threaten interna-
tional stability and peaceful relations; and

WHEREAS, Rabbi Schneier has himself convened six international confer-
ences promoting peace and tolerance, including the 1999 Conference on
Peace and Tolerance in Vienna, where religious leaders of the Muslim,
Serbian Orthodox and Catholic communities met face to face for the first
time and, he has been a keynote speaker on Christian, Jewish and Muslim
dialogue at numerous international conferences; and
WHEREAS, In April 2008, Rabbi Schneier hosted His Holiness Pope Bened-
ict XVI during his historic and unprecedented visit to Park East Syna-
gogue, marking the first time a Pope has visited a Synagogue in the
United States and only the third time any Pope has ever visited a Jewish
house of worship; and
WHEREAS, He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; Asia
Society; United Nations Development Corporation; United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum, Committee on Conscience; Conference of Presidents of
Major Jewish Organizations; and the Joint Distribution Committee; and
WHEREAS, Rabbi Schneier is, in addition, a Past President and Honorary
Chairman of Religious Zionists of America and the Honorary Chairman of
the World Jewish Congress American Section; and
WHEREAS, In recognition of the international esteem in which he is
held, Rabbi Schneier is the recipient of The Grand Decoration of Honor
in Gold with a Star for Service to the Republic of Austria; the Order of
the Republic of Hungary; the Dr. Karl Renner Prize of the City of Vien-
na; the Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church's Order of St.
Daniel of Moscow; and the Religious Liberty Award; and
WHEREAS, The recipient of eleven honorary doctoral degrees from Ameri-
can and European universities, Rabbi Schneier's alma mater, Yeshiva
University, where he was ordained, honored him in 2004 when it estab-
lished the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Center for International Affairs; and
WHEREAS, Rabbi Schneier was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by
President William J. Clinton, citing him for "his service as an interna-
tional envoy for four administrations" and as a Holocaust survivor, for
"devoting a lifetime to overcoming forces of hatred and intolerance"; he
is also the recipient of a U.S. Department of State Special Recognition
Award for "...his ecumenical work in favor of mutual understanding,
tolerance and peace...." to which he has devoted his life; and
WHEREAS, In addition, a bill, H.R. 3252, was introduced in the U.S.
House of Representatives on October 24, 2011 to award a Congressional
Gold Medal to Rabbi Arthur Schneier in recognition of his pioneering
role in promoting religious freedom and human rights throughout the
world, for close to a half century; and
WHEREAS, This Legislative Body is pleased to extend its highest
commendation to Rabbi Schneier for his dedication and commitment to his
community and his faith and to the furtherance of freedom and tolerance
throughout the world; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to pay
tribute to Rabbi Arthur Schneier upon the occasion of the celebration,
on March 18, 2012, of the 50th Anniversary of his installation as the
Rabbi and spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to Rabbi Arthur Schneier.


  • 06 / Mar / 2012

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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