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Arthur Schneier

Rabbi Arthur Schneier is the Spiritual Leader and Senior Rabbi of Park East Synagogue. He 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 President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation (1965). Rabbi Schneier was born in Vienna, Austria, on March 20, 1930. He lived under Nazi occupation in Budapest during World War II and arrived in the United States in 1947. He is married to Elisabeth Nordmann Schneier. A Holocaust survivor, Rabbi Schneier is known 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 successfully negotiated the return of the Moscow Synagogue to the Jewish community and was instrumental in the restoration of the Ohel Rachel Synagogue in Shanghai. Rabbi Schneier was privileged to present the expatriate Jewish community of Shanghai with the first Torah scroll in more than 50 years, donated by Park East Synagogue. Rabbi Schneier was one of three American religious leaders appointed by President William J. Clinton to start the first dialogue on religious freedom with President Jiang Zemin and other top Chinese leaders (1998.) Rabbi Schneier initiated the Resolution for the Protection of Religious Sites, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly (2001) and was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Stockholm International Forum for the Prevention of Genocide, Sweden (President George W. Bush, 2004). He was appointed a member of the High-Level Group, United Nations, Alliance of Civilizations, by the Secretary General Kofi Annan and Ambassador of the AoC by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The Rabbi is a member of 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; Joint Distribution Committee; HIAS; Honorary Chairman, World Jewish Congress American Section; Honorary President Religious Zionists of America. Rabbi Schneier was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President William J. Clinton, citing him for “his service as an international envoy for four administrations” and as a Holocaust survivor, “devoting a lifetime to overcoming forces of hatred and intolerance.” He was the recipient of U.S. Department of State Special Recognition Award for “…his ecumenical work in favor of mutual understanding, tolerance and peace….” The Rabbi has received eleven honorary doctorates from U.S. and European universities. His alma mater, Yeshiva University, honored him by establishing the Rabbi Arthur Schneier Center for International Affairs in 2004. He is Officer of the Legion of Honor, recipient of The Grand Decoration of Honor in Gold with Star for Service to the Republic of Austria; Order of the Republic of Hungary; Dr. Karl Renner Prize of the City of Vienna; Order of St. Daniel of Moscow (Moscow Patriarchate, Russian Orthodox Church); Religious Liberty Award.

Articles by Arthur Schneier:

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  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

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  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

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  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

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  • Book Reviews Jewish History Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    Why the Holocaust Occurred in Germany, and Why So Few Resisted (REVIEW)

    It’s hard to make a new contribution to the field of Holocaust studies,  but German historian Götz Aly accomplishes just that in Why the Germans, Why the Jews? His premise is that the origins of the Holocaust were rooted in the specific anti-Semitism found in Germany in the decades and centuries before World War II. Aly (who is not Jewish) seeks to prove his theory by studying only pre-Holocaust history, and tracing how the German people’s envy and hatred of [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Blogs Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    Looking at Anti-Israel Celebrities and Their Brands

    JNS.org – During the current conflict in Gaza a number of celebrities have voiced their opinions in support of either the Israeli or Palestinian positions. But others—be it during Operation Protective Edge or at other times—have gone further than simply supporting the Palestinians by actively supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, making false accusations about the Jewish state, ignoring Israel’s position on the conflict, or justifying the actions of the terrorist group Hamas. Many of these [...]

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  • Blogs Sports Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    Israeli UFC Fighter Returns to Jewish State to Rejoin IDF

    JNS.org – Days after winning his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight bout against Steven Siler on July 26, Israeli-born mixed martial arts competitor Noad Lahat boarded a plane for his native country, choosing to temporarily exit UFC’s octagonal cage to rejoin the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a paratrooper for its operation against Hamas in Gaza. Except he didn’t actually consider it a choice. “When [our] home is in danger, there is no other way for us [but to serve [...]

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  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

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  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

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