Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ban Ki-Moon Wears Kippah for a Day, Honors Holocaust Victims 

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wore a kippah in a New York synagogue Saturday to honor Holocaust victims and survivors, one day after he reiterated sharp criticism of a Jewish presence in United Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Moon is a “mensch,” Yiddish for a good man, said Rabbi Arthur Schneier, leader of the high-profile Park East Synagogue and also a survivor of the Nazi regime.

Rabbi Schneier, who has been termed one of the leading rabbis in the United States, told his congregants in Moon’s presence that the United Nations official is a believer in "compassionate diplomacy, diplomacy from the heart."

Ban stated in the synagogue that the Holocaust was "the darkest chapter in history…. We can never tolerate anybody who denies the Holocaust."

Speaking two weeks before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, Rabbi Schneier commented, "I never thought I would see the day when I would see the German and Russian ambassadors sit next to each other here.” Rabbi Schneier fled from Austria to Budapest in 1938, where he survived in the ghetto.

A graduate of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Schneier is the founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. He has served as the spiritual leader of Park East since 1962, is the alternative representative for the United States in the U.N. General Assembly and has headed dozens of interfaith missions.

Two years ago, he hosted Pope Benedict XVI at the synagogue.


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