The Rabbi That Roared

By Gabrielle Birkner

Published February 04, 2009, issue of February 13, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

What do you get the man who has everything for his 50th birthday?

NAMESAKE: Rabbi Marc meets Rabbi Marc.
NAMESAKE: Rabbi Marc meets Rabbi Marc.

A 400-pound endangered Asian lion, of course.

At least that’s what Rabbi Marc Schneier, the founding rabbi of two New York-area synagogues, got from his wife, Tobi Rubinstein-Schneier. The Schneiers were the guests of honor at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo on January 27, when the zoo’s resident male lion was renamed “Rabbi Marc” — in exchange for a monetary donation that will help cover the lion’s care.

Schneier, however, has no plans of bringing his namesake to either of his two homes, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Westhampton Beach, N.Y. Rabbi Marc will remain alongside three lionesses in his current habitat, where the zoo staff anticipates he will sire cubs. Rubinstein-Schneier, who wore a leopard-print Michael Kors dress to the naming ceremony, said she hopes that the birth of Rabbi Marc’s cubs will correspond with her stepson’s bar mitzvah and her daughter’s Sweet 16 so that more members of the animal kingdom can be named in the family’s honor.

The founder and president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, Schneier was in Israel in January for the plenary assembly of the World Jewish Congress.

During the birthday celebration, Rabbi Marc came into view “with a big roar, which is appropriate, because my husband is a force to be reckoned with — in a good way,” Rubinstein-Schneier said.

Also at the festivities was WJC President Ronald Lauder, who, Schneier said, became enamored with the zoo’s cheetah population. “Ronald wanted to know if a cheetah could be named after him,” Schneier said.

At press time, Lauder had not returned a call seeking comment.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.