On the occasion of Rosh Hashanah the heads of two entirely different Jewish communities shared their views with us. Did the Patriarch stand the testing, and did God stand it? – asks Katalin Kelemen, the leader of the Sim Shalom Reform Jewish community of Budapest. Based on the weekly Haftarah portion Baruch Oberlander, the Budapest shaliakh of the Lubavitch movement contemplates about the question whether it is appropriate to pray for personal financial well-being on the solemn holiday.
The construction of the new building of the Anna Frank High School, due to be ready by the beginning of the next academic year, is progressing quickly – reports our colleague. In our earlier issues we reported about the unclear situation around the selection of the designer and the contractor.
What kind of tasks await the historian Andreas Nachama, the new leader of the Berlin Jewish Community who is taking over this position from Jerzy Kanal, who was dealing mainly with issues of property and enjoyed little public liking.
The latest clash of the American Reform Jewish Community and the Israeli Orthodoxy is described, this time regarding the issue of conversions.
The Lauder Foundation has been active in the former socialist countries for ten years now. We report about their activities and achievments on this occasion.
The total budget of religious Hungarian Jewry is 1.4 billion HUF. Thus the yearly 450 million HUF offered as compensation for the properties nationalized by the Communists is a considerable amount. Its distribution may raise debates. The Orthodox Community, which exists only in Budapest by now, and the Jewish communities in the countryside support the principle of “giving it back to those from whom it was taken away in the past”. Budapest Jews, however, think that it doesn’t make any sense to give support of several million Forints to small Jewish communities of 5-6 elderly. The solution is to create larger centers in the countryside, suggests Jeno Pollak, one of our readers.
Our supplement bears the title “Jewry and Conservativism”. The negative interpretation of freedom, which according to Isaiah Berlin is the lack of external force and is thus closest to liberalism, is hardly compatible with Jewish tradition, which means the voluntary acceptance of the strict law of Halachah – writes Gabor Balázs, a student of Bar-Ilan University. Miklos Tamás Gáspár sheds light on the relationship of Judaism and Conservativism through the prophetic tradition.
In the 19th century Jewry could be considered a universal metaphor for all the social groups which suffered a crisis due to modernization, as Jewry can be identified with all the crisis symptoms. Thus the joining of anti-modernization and anti-Semitism determined the place of Jewry at the time on the political left, among the liberals – argued the sociologist András Kovács at a roundtable discussion about the topic. To break out of traditional Jewish communities one needed a real revolutionary spirit – argued the historian Peter Kende.