Budapest — Rahel Raj calls herself a 21st-century Yiddishe mama.
The daughter of a rabbi and mother of a toddler, she and her family run a pair of popular bake shops here that specialize in Jewish pastries such as flodni, a calorific confection of layered nuts, apple and poppy seeds that is one of the symbols of local Jewish cuisine.
The consul general of Hungary in New York paid tribute to Rabbi Arthur Schneier of Park East Synagogue on his 80th birthday recently. The rabbi, a native of Vienna, survived the Holocaust as a 15-year-old refugee in Budapest when 600,000 Hungarian Jews perished.
“He could have come away from the Budapest ghetto hating not only the Nazis but the Germans, the Hungarians in general—many of his survivors have,” said Consul General Viktor Polgar.
Apartments for 20-somethings seen as ‘new, grass-roots model’ of Jewish engagement.
Ruth Ellen Gruber
Budapest — When 29-year-old Eszter Susan announced on Facebook last September that she had moved into a Moishe House, few of her friends knew what she was talking about.
Six months later the rambling, high-ceilinged apartment she shares with two other young women has become a focal point of Jewish involvement for dozens of Budapest Jews in their 20s.
There are parties at Jewish holidays, movie nights, lectures on Jewish topics, social action meetings and a Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a potluck dinner that attracts dozens of people each Friday night.
Imre Kertesz, a Hungarian Jew who is this year’s Nobel laureate in literature, often says that he’s a medium of the Holocaust. “Auschwitz speaks through his stories,” a friend of his, the Israeli literary critic and author Shmuel Thomas Huppert, tells The Jewish Week. “His main theme is Auschwitz. He stresses the fact that first of all he’s a writer. He didn’t become a writer because he was in Auschwitz but, by being in Auschwitz, he found his major theme.”
As a new biography shows, the second half of Arthur Koestler’s life, marked by a peculiar mix of Zionism and Jewish self-hatred, was one of steadily declining reputation.
If you were Jewish and lived in the 1940s, to say that Arthur Koestler was on your side was no small thing. Then at the height of his renown, Koestler, born in Budapest in 1905, had become one of Western literature’s most revered figures. His anti-Stalinist novel “Darkness at Noon,” published in 1940 and still his most famous, made him one of the first liberals to come out against Communism. The book would partly inspire George Orwell, an author whose reputation today far eclipses Koestler’s.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
I think Jimmy Carter is every bit the anti-Zionist, perhaps even the anti-Semite, that many Jews think he is.
And yet, as a father, I liked the idea of Carter talking to Hamas.
In New York, it was mid-August on a Sunday morning. In Tel Aviv, it was afternoon. I took a deep breath, picked up the phone, and dialed 14 numbers.
“Shalom?” said an elderly woman.
“Shalom,” I replied. “And hello. I am looking for Eva H___. Are you Eva?”
“Yes.” Her voice sounded guarded and cautious: “Who are you?”