The Rabbinical Seminary of Budapest is now likely to get accreditation and will be qualified as a university in the future. This means that now the Jewish community in Hungary (along with the Catholics, Calvinists and Lutherans) will have its own university. The new institution, Rabbinical Seminary – Jewish University has completed the minimum requirements: two faculties including three departments were accredited.
MAZSIHISZ, the official representative organization of the conservative (in Hungary: neologue) Jewish Community refused to accept as a member the Sim Shalom reformed Jewish community. The leaders of the organization explained their decision by referring to the refusal by the rabbis, which judged – without any halachic justification – that the reformed and the conservative Jewish thinking are incompatible.
The Hungarian orthodox Jewish community counts less than 200 members and is in charge of a wealth of several million dollars. Their assembly was conducted according to local tradition: the 82-year-old president’s hour long speech brought up many issues, but the assembly approved the financial report without being given any written documentation. The only person to speak up was not taken seriously.
“In Israel, one of the most interesting phenomena of the last ten years was that many young people, hungry for new experience, traveled to the Far East and to South America. In a number of exotic countries a mini-culture with active trading developed around the group of Israelis there. According to a 1998 survey 16,5% of young people finishing their army service travel to exotic regions. The majority of parents have by now accepted this new trend and accept that after three years of military service their children would be exposed to different types of danger for another year.”- reports Zsuzsa Einat Schőner from Tel Aviv.
In the coming issues of Szombat we are printing somé of the documents from the archives of the State Office for Religion which was in charge of supervising religious denominations between 1948 and 1989. This first time we publish a report from 1973 about a conversation between the officer in charge and the editor-in-chief of Új Élet, the only allowed Jewish newspaper at the time. According to the report prepared not long after the Yom Kippur war, the editor-in-chief allegedly complained about the Jewish community criticising him because of not writing a word about Israel. In his response the govemment official warns him: Új Élet is a religious paper, it should not deal with politics. “As a matter of course, you could write more about Hungary’s development and the achievements of the the socialist System”- added the official as encouragement.
Erős Ferenc’s essay “The Failure to Cope” writes about a Hungárián film made in 1968. This film was the first at the time which started to examine the issue of responsibility for the Shoah. The main character in Zoltán Fábry‘s film “Utószezon” (Season’s End) became the owner of a chemist’s shop by reporting the shop’s original Jewish owners to their persecutors. During the post 1956 consolidation period he tried to expiate in vain: society was not open to this, his confusion embarassed others, and at the end he accepts that everything will remain unchanged.