‘Rabbi to the Diplomats’ Hosts Ban Ki-moon for Shoah Service
Rabbi Arthur Schneier ‘Rabbi to the Diplomats’ and the Upper East Side’s Park East Synagogue hosted over forty diplomats including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser at a recent Shabbat prayer service.
The well attended event, set to coincide with International Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th also welcomed a number of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Attendees were invited to lunch following the service where a number of Ambassadors representing European countries that were directly or indirectly complicit in the Nazi Holocaust addressed the attendees.
Rabbi Schneier spoke of his youth fleeing Nazi persecution and how it influenced his life work in fighting intolerance and hate. He welcomed the Secretary General as a friend and praised his work. Prompted by Al-Nasser whose wife and son were in attendance, he spoke of the importance of education as an antidote to bigotry.
Ki-moon praised the Rabbi who will shortly celebrate his 50th anniversary as leader of the congregation saying, “Rabbi Schneier, you have played a leading role in our shared efforts to build a world of dignity and security in which no such horror can ever happen again.”
Speaking of the Holocaust as a source of direction for the UN’s activities he said “our memory of the years when that dignity was torn from so many millions — so fast, so brutally – is likewise part of the bedrock from which we operate.”
Perhaps responding to ongoing harsh criticism of the UN’s moral compass, he acknowledged that there was still more to be done. “Let us all work together today to realize human dignity for all, and to realize the UN’s full potential in building the future we want” he concluded.