- Title: Historic Budapest synagogue to reopen amid Jewish cultural revival
- Date: 16th August 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Hungarian) SYNAGOGUE RENOVATION PROJECT LEADER, HENRIETT KISS, SAYING: "(During the war) Jews who were collected from other districts were rounded up here and they had to wait here until they were assigned a flat in the ghetto. But after a while there were so many people that they got stuck here."
- Embargoed: 30th August 2019 11:38
- Keywords: Synogogue reopens Budapest synogogue Hungary synogogue reopens Holocaust Judaism religion
- Location: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- City: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
- Country: Hungary
- Topics: Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA003ASGWHFD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Tamas Irsai was a teenager when he last sang in the choir in Budapest's Rumbach synagogue during World War Two, before most Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.
Irsai survived the Holocaust but the great majority of Hungarian Jews, including many of his relatives and friends, did not. Under Communist rule, more Jews emigrated and the synagogue finally ceased to be a place of worship, its last rabbi leaving Hungary, after Soviet tanks crushed a 1956 uprising.
Since the 1989 fall of communism, however, Jewish community life has revived. The community now numbers about 100,000, with new schools and renovated synagogues - including Rumbach which will reopen early next year after decades of neglect during which pigeons moved in.
Built in stunning Moorish Revival style in 1873, the Rumbach - one of Budapest's most prominent synagogues - will be re-established for religious observance and also act as a cultural centre with concerts and exhibitions.
It is a dream come true for Irsai. The temple holds many happy memories for him, including his bar mitzvah, the now 89 year-old said.
The synagogue is situated amid chic new restaurants and bars that have turned Budapest's former Jewish ghetto into one of the capital's most popular nightlife districts.
Leader of the renovation project Henriett Kiss said that the synagogue was built for all members of the Jewish community in Budapest and those just visiting.
"We would like to make this a kind of a melting pot for the multicultural quarter around it but offer a more serious content than the values of the party district," she added.
(Production: Kriszta Fenyo, Louisa Naks)
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