Whether you are a strictly observant Jew or not, it is reassuring to know that during a visit to Budapest you can eat at a kosher restaurant. Not only that, if you want snacks during long walks in the Budapest Jewish District, you can buy those at the local shop. There is the Oblath Kosher Shop on Dob Utca and Hannah’s Kosher Restaurant just up the street. In fact, most shops and cafes catering for kosher visitors are in the same area.
This is the part two in a 3-part series.
Read about Jewish Education in Budapest here, and
The revival of the Budapest Jewish community here.
Hanna Kosher Restaurant in Budapest
Rabbi Weiszberger’s simple office was on the second floor of the Hungarian Autonom Orthodox Israelite Council’s building at the time of my visit. It overlooked the local kosher restaurant and a large, functioning Orthodox synagogue. “We supply the community with kosher food through our own kosher butcher shop and restaurant downstairs,” he said.
Hanna’s Orthodox Kosher restaurant is open seven days a week, with a short opening on Saturday. The butcher shop, which sells everyday items and milk products is open most days of the week.
The shop and the restaurant was at the time administered by Zev Paskesz, Grand Secretary of the Hungarian Autonom Orthodox Israelite Council.
“Until we opened the shop, religious Jews had to pre-order kosher food from a trusted butcher. Since we opened more and more people use us as their local store,” he said.
“We only recently (2011) started selling milk and dairy products and our sales have gone up considerably. There has been an increased interest in traditional kosher food stuff in recent years.”
Kosher Shop in the Budapest Jewish District
Since the fall of the iron curtain in Hungary in 1989 Jewish people have been able to practice their religion freely. As a result, many of the younger generations now want to learn about their past and traditions and shop kosher food. Also, there are a lot of young people who do not know how to identify themselves as they were born in mixed marriages and now want to discover their roots.
“When I graduated from high school I wanted to learn about myself and my religion so I took up yeshiva classes,” said Andras Oblath, owner of a kosher shop in Dob utca.
Oblath said he opened the shop to help his community. Now his shop has hundreds of customers and it supplies the local kosher restaurants. They also export to Poland, Romania and the Ukraine.
“Before I opened this shop we had to go to Vienna, 200 miles from here, to buy kosher food. Now we export to neighboring countries,” added Oblath.
The community’s future now depends on the younger generation which, the elders hope, will carry on the Jewish traditions for generations to come.
“It is very hard to fill prayer rooms and synagogues during the week but at least on Saturdays young ones come too,” said elders present at an evening minyan. “Nowadays there are definitely more youngsters attending prayers on Saturdays than 30 or 40 years ago.”
Read more about how the Budapest Jewish Community looks after its young in my next post.
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