ARTHUR SCHNEIER of Park
East Synagogue reached a milestone with his 80th
birthday on March 30. Naturally that called for a party at the
consulate of Hungary in New York.
The rabbi, a native of Vienna,
survived the Holocaust as a 15-year-old refugee in Budapest when
600,000 Hungarian Jews perished.
"He could have come away from the
Budapest ghetto hating not only the Nazis but the Germans, the
Hungarians in generalómany of his survivors have," said Consul
General Viktor Polgar.
"But he had come away with the
conviction that in order to never allow such horrors to happen
there is but one way: to educate, tell the story, impress the
morals of history and eliminate the conditions that have created
Schneier revealed how he overcame the
pain of his early years in the Shoah: "You go through life with
pain but you donít get paralyzed by grief. Donít get stuck in
the past. Believe in a better world and help to attain it."
Since 1962 Schneierís been the
spiritual leader of the historic Park East Synagogue on the
Upper East Side. He is the founding president of the global
reaching Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Since 1965 the
organization, with the assistance of world political leaders and
religious figures, has been promoting brotherhood and
understanding among the faiths of the world.
Ambassador Polgar presented the rabbi
with the Commanderís Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit
on behalf of the president of Hungary. Among those applauding
were Consul Generals Andrey K. Yushmanov of the Russian
Federation and Branko Radosevic of the Republic of
The rabbi said he faced a dilemma.
Does he respond in Hungarian, which is not an easy tongue, or
his native German? He spoke in flawless English.
"Iíve worked very hard to lose my
Hungarian-German accent. Otherwise Iíd be speaking like Henry