Main Events

Michael Scharf, synagogue

Boss Takes Orders
From The Rabbi

By Tim Boxer

ICHAEL SCHARF, as head of Niagara Corp., answers to no one. But he wasn’t always the boss. When he first started out in business, the boss one day looked up and asked Michael to fill his glass with water.

As Michael brought the water, a thought crossed his mind: “I’m going to leave and never work for somebody else again.”

Michael left and never worked for somebody else again – until he joined Park East Synagogue.

“I’ve been working for Rabbi Arthur Schneier for 20 years,” he told an appreciative audience of 450 at the synagogue’s annual dinner at the Pierre Hotel.

Russian Consul General
Viacheslav A. Pavlovskiy and
Rabbi Arthur Schneier.

He’s been working all those years as the synagogue’s president, while presiding over Niagara Corp., a steel company, as its chairman, president and CEO.

Michael introduced guest speaker William Thompson Jr., the city comptroller, to great applause.

“We’re applauding the people we pay our taxes to!” he marveled. “This is unique in the annals of synagogue life.”

Thompson praised Rabbi Schneier for “bringing people of all backgrounds to understand each other.”

Rabbi Schneier, founding president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an ecumenical coalition of business and religious leaders working for religious tolerance, last week received the State Department’s Special Recognition Award last week from Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Rabbi Arthur and Elisabeth Schneier, from
left, Michael and Sydelle Lazar,
Dr. Sheldon Muhlbauer and Marilyn Meltzer.

At the synagogue dinner, Rabbi Schneier presented a Man of the Year Award to Michael Lazar, a board member of the synagogue and national president of Bnai Zion, and an Educator of the Year Award to Marilyn Meltzer, principal of general studies at the synagogue’s day school.

Marilyn thanked the audience, and also her husband, Sheldon, a urologist.

“As a student at Yeshiva Torah V’Daat in Brooklyn, my husband spent many hours in the principal’s office,” Marilyn said. “Now he has to live with one.”

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