As a young child living under Nazi occupation in Vienna and Hungary during World War II, Rabbi Arthur Schneier saw the atrocities that mankind was capable of committing. He vowed that if he survived he would change the world into one of tolerance, where people of all faiths could coexist under the principle “live and let live.” In 1965 he founded the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and became internationally known for his leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights, and tolerance.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Clinton 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” and Department of State Special Recognition Award for “his ecumenical work in favor of mutual understanding, tolerance, and peace.” The United States Senate honored him for his half century of work on behalf of religious freedom and interreligious cooperation. Pope Francis conferred on Rabbi Arthur Schneier the rare papal knighthood of St. Sylvester for “his unceasing work to promote peace and mutual understanding.”
Since 1962 Rabbi Arthur Schneier has been the Senior Rabbi of the 129-year old historic landmark Park East Synagogue where in 2008 he hosted Pope Benedict XVI, the first Papal visit to a synagogue in the U.S. He has also hosted the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Patriarch Alexey I of Moscow, Metropolitan Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Grand Muftis of Central Asia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Secretary General, World Muslim League.
He has served as U.S. Alternate Representative to the U.N. General Assembly, Chairman, U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. Rabbi Arthur Schneier was one of three religious leaders appointed by President Clinton to start the first dialogue on religious freedom with President Jiang Zemin and Chinese leaders. He was appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the High-Level Group UN “Alliance of Civilizations”, and serves as Ambassador of the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations.