Rabbi Arthur Schneier, President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Spiritual leader, Park East Synagogue held a memorial service at the Park East Synagogue on New Year’s Day for the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami that ravaged South East Asia and Africa. In attendance were diplomats from some of the countries affected–Permanent Representatives to the United Nations Rastam Mohd Isa of Malaysia; Bernard A.B. Goonetilleke of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Pravit Chaimongkol of Thailand, Consul Generals to New York Pramathesh Rath of India and Kristio Wahyono of the Republic of Indonesia. Also in attendance were Acting Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Anne W. Patterson and Consul General Kjell Anneling of Sweden.
Those in attendance received updates of the devastation from the diplomats and their gratitude for the humanitarian response.
Rabbi Arthur Schneier stated: “This is not the first or the last natural calamity. We must ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ with the realization that it can happen here or anywhere. In the days of Noah an entire civilization was destroyed and God’s prescription for renewal and survival was the rainbow. Just as each color in the rainbow maintains its own identity while blending into the rainbow, nations of different ideological, cultural and political persuasions should work together at times of good and bad.”