Arthur Schneier

Arthur Schneier (born March 20, 1930) is an Austrian-American rabbi and human rights activist. Rabbi Schneier has served for over 50 years as the Senior Rabbi of New York City’s Park East Synagogue. While being honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Bill Clinton in 2001, Rabbi Schneier was described as “a Holocaust survivor who has devoted a lifetime to overcoming forces of hatred and intolerance and set an inspiring example of spiritual leadership by encouraging interfaith dialog and intercultural understanding, as well as promoting the cause of religious freedom around the world.” [1]

Rabbi Arthur Schneier
Arthur Schneier.png
Born (1930-03-20) March 20, 1930 (age 91)
SpouseElisabeth Nordmann Schneier
Alma materYeshiva University
PositionSenior Rabbi
SynagoguePark East
OrganizationAppeal of Conscience Foundation
Rabbi Schneier with Austrian Minister of Finance Michael Spindelegger


Rabbi Schneier graduated with a B.A. from Yeshiva University in 1951, was awarded an M.A. from New York University in 1953 and received his rabbinical Ordination from Yeshiva University in 1955.[2] Schneier is also the recipient of 11 honorary doctorates from American and European universities.[3]


In 1962, Rabbi Schneier became the Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue in New York City.[3] During his service there, Rabbi Schneier has hosted several world religious and political leaders including Pope Benedict XVI—the first-ever papal visit to an American synagogue—and two Secretaries General of the United Nations.[3] Schneier has met with Popes John Paul II,[4] Francis,[5] and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I[6] to promote and facilitate interfaith dialogue. In 2012, the New York Senate passed a resolution in celebration of Rabbi Schneier's 50 years of service at Park East Synagogue.[7] He is also the Founder and Dean of Park East Day School, a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school.[8]

In 1965 he founded the Appeal of Conscience Foundation[3] as an “interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders” dedicated to promoting “peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution.”[9]

Rabbi Schneier presents the Global Leadership Award to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak

Throughout his career, Rabbi Schneier has actively advanced the cause of peace and tolerance. He is known for his efforts to rebuild Jewish and religious life in Russia after the collapse of the USSR and was instrumental in the return of the Moscow Synagogue to the Russian Jewish community.[10]

Rabbi Schneier has led 68 interfaith missions in China, Russia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. In 1992, he convened the Religious Summit on the Former Yugoslavia in Switzerland, and in 1995, he convened the Conflict Resolution Conference in Vienna to mobilize world religious leaders to stop the conflict in the Balkans.[11] For more than 20 years, Rabbi Schneier worked closely with Grand Mufti Ceric of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1992, they gathered together some of the top religious leaders from former Yugoslavia in Bern, Switzerland, including Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo, formally of Zagreb, Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Grand Mufti Jakub efendi Selimoski of Sarajevo to call for an end to the conflict. What emerged was Erklärung von Bern in which they declared that "a crime in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion."[12] These efforts helped to forge a pathway to the Dayton Accord.[10] In 2012, Rabbi Schneier helped commemorate the Srebrenica massacre that occurred during the breakup of Yugoslavia by delivering the keynote address at the 17th annual Srebrenica memorial. He is thus far the only non-Muslim to do so. During his address, Rabbi Schneier delivered a message from U.S. president Barack Obama.[12]

In 1998, President Clinton appointed him as one of three religious leaders to discuss religious freedom with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.[3] He led efforts to preserve and restore Ohel Rachel Synagogue, one of only two remaining historic synagogues in Shanghai.[13] Throughout his career, Rabbi Schneier has convened six international conferences to ease ethnic and religious conflict and promote peace and tolerance.[14]

Schneier being conferred with a Papal Knighthood. From left, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza

Rabbi Schneier also served as U.S. Alternate Representative at the U.N. General Assembly in 1988[15] and as a member of the U.S. Delegation for Return of the St. Steven Crown to Hungary in 1979.[16] In 2006, he became a member of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations High-Level Group (UNAOC) and in 2008, he was appointed an ambassador to the UNAOC.[14] That same year, Rabbi Schneier was the keynote speaker at an Interfaith Conference convened by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Madrid. In 2009, he had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI to reaffirm Nostra Aetate adopted by Vatican Council II.[17] In April 2015, Rabbi Schneier was conferred a Papal knighthood by The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York's Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan for the "good works that he’s done on behalf of religious freedom, international peace and justice.” [18]

Awards and recognitionsEdit

He 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; Past President and Honorary Chairman, Religious Zionists of America, Honorary Chairman, and serves as Vice President of the World Jewish Congress American Section.[3][36]

Personal lifeEdit

Born in Vienna in 1930, Rabbi Schneier 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[3] and is the father of Rabbi Marc Schneier and Karen Schneier Dresbach. He has 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.


  1. ^ "President Clinton Awards the Presidential Citizens Medals". FirstGov. FirstGov. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  2. ^ Reagan, Ronald (January 1990). Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1988-1989. ISBN 9781623769543. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Rabbi Arthur Schneier". Park East Synagogue. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Pope was trailblazer for peace". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Pope Francis Welcomed By Rabbi Arthur Schneier At The Kotel At The Start Of His Historic Visit To Jerusalem". Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  6. ^ Borschel-Dan, Amanda. "Pope's East-West church summit sends message to Mideast, NY rabbi says". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Honoring Rabbi Arthur Schneier on the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of his installation as the Rabbi of Park East Synagogue on March 18, 2012". New York Senate. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "About Us". Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Rabbi Arthur Schneier". HIAS. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  11. ^ "President, Appeal of Conscience Foundation". The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Rabbi Arthur Schneier delivers keynote speech at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial Center in Potocari". Congress of North American Bosniaks. Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  13. ^ Faison, Seth (July 2, 1998). "CLINTON IN CHINA: RELIC; Revival of a Synagogue Wins First Lady's Praise". The New York Times.
  14. ^ a b "Vienna 5 UNAOC: Speakers". Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Reagan Names Rabbi to Alternate U.N. Post". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  16. ^ "50th Anniversary, 1956 Hungarian Uprising". Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  17. ^ "In New York City Irish-Americans and Jewish Americans – both American Minorities – have something in Common – March 17th". Sustainabilitank. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  18. ^ a b Barron, James. "Cardinal Timothy Dolan Confers a Rare Papal Knighthood on Rabbi Arthur Schneier". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 1140. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  20. ^ a b c "Rabbi Arthur Schneier". Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Republic of Hungary Honors ACF President". Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Honoring Rabbi Arthur Schneier on the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of his installation as the Rabbi of Park East Synagogue on March 18, 2012". New York Senate. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  23. ^ "President Nikolas Sarkozy Honors Rabbi Arthur Schneier". Black Tie Magazine. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Archons Bestow Athenagoras Human Rights Award to Rabbi Arthur Schneier". Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Rabbi Arthur Schneier Congressional Gold Medal Act". Congress.gove. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  26. ^ "Rabbi Arthur Schneier Honored by Spain". Jewish Post. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Rabbi A. Schneier is decorated at the Consulate General of Italy in New York". Sistema Italia. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  28. ^ "Federal Republic of Germany Honors ACF President". Appeal of Conscience. Appeal of Conscience. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  29. ^ "March 20 Dinner to Support YU's Rabbi Arthur Schneier Center for International Affairs". Yeshiva University News. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  30. ^ "Rabbi Arthur Schneier Congressional Gold Medal Act". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Pope Francis to bestow knighthood on New York rabbi". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  32. ^ Smith, Courtenay; Caporimo, Alison. "Reader's Digest Trust Poll: The 100 Most Trusted People in America". Reader's Digest. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  33. ^ "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2013". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  34. ^ "2010 Guru Nanek Interfaith Prize". Hofstra University. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  35. ^ Leadership, Centre for Responsible. "Responsible Leaders Summit to Honour Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Johnson & Johnson's Alex Gorsky, Statkraft's Christian Rynning-Tonnesen and Renowned Journalist Ann Curry with Leadership Awards". Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  36. ^ "Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress". World Jewish Congress University. Retrieved 20 August 2014.