FFEU In The News 2013


The Real Challenge is to Love the Stranger


A local Rabbi and Imam try to bridge a wide gulf.

Obama's Seder and Seeing the Other


Last Monday evening, President Barack Obama gathered with his family, members of his staff and other guests, many of them Jews and African-Americans, to hold his fifth Seder since coming to the White House.

Martin Luther King Jr., Israel and Obama


There is no disputing the historic significance of President Barack Obama's state visit to Israel; his first since he was elected our nation's chief executive just over four years ago. During his first term, the president did a great deal to make clear to all - including Israel's adversaries - that he has the back of the Jewish state. In the face of unfair charges during last year's US elections that Obama was somehow anti-Israel, no less an authority than then-defense minister Ehud Barak stated last summer: "This administration, under President Obama, is doing in regard to our security more than anything I can remember in the past."

Sean Hannity Escalates Attack on Rep. Keith Ellison


"Congressman Ellison has been a valued friend to the American Jewish community. He has been a partner in strengthening Muslim Jewish relations. As an example, he was responsible for organizing the letter by Muslim Americans to Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas, in demanding the release of Gilad Shalit," Schneier said in a public statement.

Embrace Moderate Muslim leaders

Prominent rabbi says increased willingness of European Muslim leaders to denounce attacks on Jews mustn't be overlooked


The delegates to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations deserve our united applause for travelling to Paris last week to express solidarity with French Jewry, which has endured a rising number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in recent years, including the horrific incident in Toulouse last March in which an Islamist extremist opened fire at a Jewish day school, killing three schoolchildren and a rabbi.

Ed Koch: An Inspiration for Black-Jewish Relations


New York City and the entire nation are mourning the passing of former Mayor Ed Koch, a larger-than-life figure who came to personify the city he ran with verve and ebullience for three full terms from 1978-1989. Coming to office at a time when New York was all but bankrupt and seemingly coming apart at the seams, Koch used his mayoralty as a bully pulpit to revive New Yorkers' belief in the viability of the city as a safe and vibrant place to live and raise their children. Throughout his 12 years in office, Koch worked relentlessly to straighten out the city's finances, rebuild its housing stock, make Central Park secure and inviting again, and cleanse the city's subway cars of graffiti.

A New Jewish Prayer for MLK Day 


The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which aims to strengthen ties between Jews and other ethnic and racial groups, authored a new prayer for Shabbat services preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was distributed nationwide to synagogues representing all major Jewish denomination.

Remember Dr. King's Dream by Supporting American Muslims


On Jan. 7, exactly two weeks before we are to simultaneously celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and inaugurate Barack Obama to his second term as President of the United States, sinister advertisements went up in dozens of subway stations around New York City, making evident that despite the undoubted strides our nation has made toward achieving justice and equality, bigotry and fear-mongering remain alive and well in America.


White House Seder Continuation of Chicago Tradition


US president, family, friends celebrate Passover dinner with Seder, the "continuation of a longstanding custom" for the Obamas. The White House tradition of holding a Passover Seder, started by US President Barack Obama in 2009 during his first term, is the continuation of a longstanding Obama family tradition, according to interfaith advocate Rabbi Marc Schneier.

Russell Simmons Hosts the 2013 Young Leadership Benefit for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding

On Monday night, Russell Simmons and Rabbi Marc Schneier hosted the Young Leadership Benefit for the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding at Simmons's New York home. The Chairman of the benefit, Ali Naqvi, organized the event, which honored minority entrepreneurs, including Sharis Shiribabadi, Paramdeep Singh, Ben Bronfman, and Sal Strazzullo. Other notable attendees included Q-Tip, Jay Sean, Ndaba Mandela, Dustin Yellin, and Kiera Chaplin

The Muslim-Jewish side of Russell Simmons


Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is bringing his passion for Jewish-Muslim relations to the West Coast. Simmons, who co-founded record label Def Jam at the age of 26 and helped jumpstart the careers of the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, relocated from New York to Los Angeles in January to pursue the development of film and television projects, he recently told the Journal

Jewish, Muslim Religious Leaders Meet in Germany

Dozens of imams hold Holocaust commemoration in Drancy, where Jews in 1942 were confined before being transported to extermination camps. Leaders of Jewish and Muslim communities in Germany met in Cologne on Tuesday in an effort by the New Yorkbased Foundation for Ethnic Understanding to "create long-term strategies to promote interfaith unity."

Driving Out Darkness: Bringing Light to Our Youth by Spreading Dr. King's Legacy


In an event held on the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, I had the pleasure of introducing Rabbi Marc Schneier to a group of teens at Renaissance Education, Music, and Sports, a not-for-profit that serves the South Bronx by providing music and sports enrichment programming, as well as after-school and weekend academic tutoring, to elementary, middle and high school students in Upper Manhattan, Harlem and the Bronx. 

Prayer Honors Partnership between Jews and Martin LutherKing's Legacy


The prayer recognizes Dr. King's partnership with the American Jewish community in achieving equality for all Americans. Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and author of Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the American Jewish Community, said, "this prayer captures the essence of Dr. King and his relationship with the Jewish people. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as a tireless advocate both for the State of Israel and for the freedom of Soviet Jewry. Foremost, he was unequivocal in his denunciation of anti-Semitism."

RememberDr. King's Dream by Supporting American Muslims


On Jan. 7, exactly two weeks before we are to simultaneously celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and inaugurate Barack Obama to his second term as President of the United States, sinister advertisements went up in dozens of subway stations around New York City, making evident that despite the undoubted strides our nation has made toward achieving justice and equality, bigotry and fear-mongering remain alive and well in America.


Passover: A Timeless Message for African Americans and Jews


The Passover festival challenges us to see one another as full and equal human beings and, by doing so, to free ourselves from the shackles of indifference and to break the chains of prejudice. Let us celebrate this timeless message of Passover by keeping aglow the light of understanding in a society too often darkened by prejudice and bigotry.

Peace at the Penthouse


If the ultimate currency in Manhattan is real estate, one can do no better in voicing their philanthropic devotion than offering up their home in support of the cause Russell Simmons did just that on Monday night, hosting 250 guests in his downtown penthouse for a reception supporting the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

From left: Russell Simmons and Rabbi Marc Schneier visit the Western Wall during a 2012 trip to Israel. Photo by Sasson Tiram

Congressional Hearings on Rising Anti-Semitism Must Acknowledge the Muslim Leaders Willing to Condemn It


The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold hearings today on the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. In a pre-hearing interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, sub-committee chairman, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), said that anti-Semitism "is getting demonstrably worse all over the world, but especially Europe ... The Middle East is a cauldron of anti-Semitic hate, but much of that hatred is spilling out through the Muslim Diaspora and through satellite television."

Willingness of Muslim Leaders to Denounce Anti-Semitsm


Earlier this week, Israeli Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein unveiled a report on worldwide anti-Semitism which shows an alarming rise in anti-Jewish incidents during 2012, including violent attacks on Jews by Muslims.

CNN Belief Morning Read


CNN's Quote of the Day: We honor the legacy of a Jewish community that 'prayed with its feet' as it walked with Dr. King, an African American, in pursuit of civil rights. Help us to feel the reassurance of Your presence as we continue forward in pursuit of civil rights and justice for all humankind.

Dr. King's Memory and the Jewish Conscience Barack Obama's Reelection Affirms Enduring Bond of Principle


This year, we commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 21, the same day that we celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama to his second term as president of the United States.

Prayer Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. to be Inaugurated Saturday


A national prayer honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., written by Rabbi Marc Schneier, will be inaugurated at a special service Saturday at New Synagogue, 235 Sunrise Ave.


Interfaith Group Sends King Memorial Prayer to Synagogues

An interfaith group distributed a specially composed memorial prayer for the Rev. Martin Luther King to U.S. synagogues.

The prayer sent out by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding honoring King is to be recited on Jan. 19, the Sabbath before the federal holiday two days later honoring the slain civil rights activist.

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