Who Was Rabbi Szenes? and What is the Humanitarian Award

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A humanitarian is one who expresses
traits of compassion for other humans
through their acts of kindness.

A humanitarian understands the struggles of humankind, and through
his or her own desires and abilities strives to make the lives of others, their community and the world a better place.

Rabbi Michael Szenes z’l served as spiritual leader of Congregation Gates of Heaven for twenty-five years, retiring in 1984. A survivor of the Holocaust, Rabbi Szenes earned his Ph.D. in Semitic Studies from the University of Budapest and was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of Hungary in 1942. He was a dedicated leader who fought for what he believed was right regardless of its popularity; he had a passion for causes of justice, civil rights and peace. Rabbi Szenes was active in numerous interfaith and civic organizations, and served on the White House Conference of Children and Youth. A true humanitarian, Rabbi Szenes was honored with the Patroon Award, the highest award presented by the City of Schenectady in recognition of his unselfish contribution to the community and beyond the routine call of duty.

It is with great pride that this award has been established to honor the memory of a great and true