June 1997 Issue
In our May editorial we stated that the June issue of Szombat may easily be the last one. We have, with great difficulties, managed to keep Szombat alive until October. But the October issue can easily turn out to be the very last one, as you can read in our June editorial.
In the second part of his study on the Jewish schools in Hungary János Gadó probes the question of the ‘generation of the wilderness’: how the generation which grew up without any Jewish education is trying to revive Jewish tradition in three different ways. 1. The orthodox founders of the Msoret Avot American Endowment School are very resolute in demanding traditional Jewish values and behavior. This demand, however, has created tensions between the Orthodox leadership and the Hungarian teachers and students. These tensions prompted several outstanding students and teachers to leave. 2. The Anna Frank Gymnasium maintained by the Federation of the Hungarian Jewish Communities tries to revive the traditions of the pre-war period, but is unable to find support in the community which itself lacks these traditions. 3. In contrast to these schools, Judasim is just one of the subjects and not a way of life in the Lauder Yavneh Jewish Community School. And even though this fosters a healthy community spirit, it creates but a superficial Jewish consciousness.
2. The orthodox founders of the Msoret Avot American Endowment School are very resolute when demanding traditional Jewish values and behavior. The Anna Frank Gymnasium tries to revive the by now ‘meaningless’
traditions of the pre-war period, while in the Lauder Yavneh Jewish Community School Judaism is a subject and not a way of life as in the two other schools.
Dr. Peter Feldmajer, chairman of the Federation of the Hungarian Jewish Communities has prepared and sent out a detailed report on the 1996 activites of the federation to the members of the General Assembly. In the fourth section of his report he tries to trace the ‘fate’ of the apartments bequeathed on the Federation. Dr. Feldmajer concludes that in most cases, however, it is impossible to establish whether the donor’s requirements had been met. The report was sharply criticized during the General Assembly and some of the critical remarks had extremely personal undertones. There was also some tentative criticism of the financial report of the Federation, namely that
individua items were only intelligible to the well-informed.
Gusztav Zoltai, managing director of the Federation announced that Holocaust survivors would receive financial support from the 15 million USD from the fund created from the unclaimed assets in Swiss banks.
In their essay János Komlós and György Csillag argue that the Constitutional Court’s decision according to which
Holocaust survivors in Hungary can only claim partial restitutional gravely violates the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947. Even though it is true that the capacity of thecurrent economic condition in Hungary does set certain limits on the extent of the restitution, changes in an international treaty must first be accepted by the international community and the Jews of Hungary. And even a partial restitution must ensure the creation of conditions conducive to the revival of the community life, pointing beyond the circle of individuals.