New platform brings Hungarian Jewish treasures to the digital space

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    The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) presented a  new digital platform where visitors can take virtual tours of Hungary’s finest synagogues.

    The digital platform was presented at a press conference in the recently renovated Rumbach Synagogue and cultural center in the heart of Budapest in the presence of Deputy State Secretary Vince Szalay-Bobrovnicky, Mazsihisz President András Heisler, and József Horváth, President of the Cödoko Foundation and Mazsihisz Vice President.

    Visitors will be able to wander through Hungary’s finest and oldest synagogues, experience the past and present of Hungarian Jewry, and learn about its rich spiritual, cultural, and religious traditions.

    The newly launched platform also includes a unique crowdfunding element displaying donation goals, projects and opportunities to help protect Hungarian Jewish heritage and its spiritual legacy.

    Donating, the act of joining together in a community for a noble cause is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition. The Torah itself calls attention to the importance and significance of giving.

    “Jews must also donate for community purposes, and this is why one of the pillars of the new digital project is presenting opportunities and goals of donations,” said Mr. Horváth

    The amounts that can be donated for different purposes are connected to Jewish culture and tradition in Hungary.

    Hence, the 613 Hungarian Forint (HUF, 1,73 Euros) donation refers to the 613 mitzvot (commandments in Judaism), and the 1800 HUF donation (5,07 Euros) refers to the numerical value of the Hebrew word for life.

    The project also seeks to highlight the rich spiritual, cultural and religious richness of Jewish communities that no longer exist, in order to draw attention to the void created by the Holocaust.

    The Holocaust physically eliminated a large part of the Jewish communities, leaving no chance to recreate the Jewish life of the past. Time has not stood still. Much of these cultural treasures have disappeared, but what remains interacts in some way with the local Jewish community of the present.

    Accordingly, the project pays tribute in the digital space to all those who have left an irreplaceable void, while also showing what has survived and what it represents today for Hungary’s contemporary Jewish community.

    Mazsihisz President Heisler, who also serves as Vice-President of the EJC, emphasized that it is always refreshing to report on developing projects in Hungarian public life, such as this innovative project.

    For his part, Mr. Szalay-Bobrovnicky highlighted the low level of donation culture in the NGO sector in Hungary and stated that “the Hungarian government is committed to improving the culture of giving.”

    The second phase of the project will depend on received donations: the earliest deadline is 15 April 2022 for the Bethlen Square Synagogue project, which aims to crowdfund 2.5 million HUF – 7.035 Euros). More time has been allocated for the Limmud Hungary Foundation project, where the goal is to raise 1.5 million HUF (4220 Euros) which runs until 30 June 2022

    The goal of this initiative is to present the values of other Jewish communities in Hungary and beyond, to enlarge the knowledge base, and to enlarge its crowdfunding base.

    The project is jointly financed by the Hungarian Government, the World Jewish Congress, Cödoko Foundation, and the Mazsihisz.

    You can visit the new digital platform here. For more information, you can reach out to  Péter Guba, Mazsihisz Head of International Relations.

    (European Jewish Congress)

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