Rabbi Arthur Schneier
Former Mayor Ed Koch joined prominent leaders Sunday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rabbi Arthur Schneier as Park East Synagogue's spiritual leader.
They have wished you another 50 years. That's ridiculous," Koch said of the synagogue's schoolchildren. "I wish you another 120.
Hundreds packed the 122-year-old institution to commemorate the rabbi's legacy.
Schneier survived the Holocaust. He fled from Austria to Hungary in 1938 with his mother, was imprisoned in Budapest and later rescued by a Swiss diplomat.
He came to the U.S. at 17, where he dedicated his life to peace, leaders said.
His daughter Karen Dresbach said she had grown up in awe of her revered father who met kings, queens, heads of state and rock stars.
I have to say, hanging out with Bono was pretty impressive," Karen mused. " You are my own personal GPS. You showed me the way."
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Schneier has been a constant fixture in world affairs.
He has seen cruelty and blind hatred," DiNapoli said. "You at an early age made a choice to become a spiritual leader and bring the community together."
Schneier, 81, said humility is the key to helping others.
Thank you for the privilege of being your servant. You have heard a lot of praise. Discount it," Schneier said. "Praise God.