Rabbi Marc Schneier of The Hamptons Synagogue and East Hampton resident Russell Simmons recently received honors from Congress for their civil rights efforts regarding Black-Jewish relations.
Schneier is founder and president of the Foundation of Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) while Simmons serves as FFEU chairman. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the foundation.
In a ceremony held at the U.S. Capitol, Schneier and Simmons were honored, along with the FFEU, for working to ease tensions between Jewish-American and African-American communities. Attendees received a copy of Schneier’s work, Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Jewish Community.
In addition to honoring Schneier and Simmons, the ceremony commemorated three other civil rights activists who were murdered on the “Freedom Summer” campaign 50 years ago. Those remembered for their service included James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.
Among the senators and representatives who spoke at the ceremony were several from New York. Local speakers included Senator Charles Schumer and Representatives Yvette Clark, Jerrold Nadler, Steve Israel and Grace Meng.