The Budapest Jewish community is trying to lure the younger generations closer to the religion by organizing free events with food and drink and weekend religious activities where young Jews can meet other people of their age.

This is the last part in a 3-part series. Read about Kosher Food here, and the revival of the Budapest Jewish community here.

Classroom Activities

There are also religious classroom activities and extracurricular projects where young Jews can learn more about their roots and the religion.

A place where there is a large emphasis on religious activities is the Wesselenyi Utcai Iskola. It is an Orthodox kindergarten, primary and high school in one building.

Here, there is morning prayer and classes are taught in Hebrew, English and Hungarian. The school in 2011 had 70 students, mostly from Orthodox families.

“We aim to provide the kids with an education that helps them develop strong ties to the Jewish community and religion. Only the young ones can carry on our traditions,” said Dov Levy, religious director of the school in 2011.

The Aftermath of War

Most religious Jews left Hungary during the decades after the war. The remaining families did not encourage their children to get involved with anything that could identify them as Jewish for fear of discrimination. As a result, the third and fourth generations since the war have become greatly distanced from the religion and traditions.

“The youth holds the key to preserving our traditions, so we must ensure they receive a strong religious education. The fruit of our labour may not be visible tomorrow – that’s why we think in generations,” Levy said.

“If we succeed in bringing at least some children back to the synagogues there is hope that they may pass on our teachings to their kids too,” concluded Levy

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