Things to read:
Young Hungarian Jews embracing identity (L.A. Times)
“Will They Gentrify The Jewish Quarter?” (Business Week)
“Budapest Ghetto Gets A Facelift” (The Forward)
Out of Darkness, New Life (Day Out in Budapest, by the New York Times)
The Virtual Jewish History Tour
The history of the Jews of Hungary from past to present – from The Jewish Virtual Library.
Jewish Budapest: Monuments, Rites, History (book)
“This book will delight the historian, armchair traveler, and student of Jewish history alike. Assembled between 1992 and 1994, it is the first in a series that will survey East-Central-European society. Although the authors emphasize Jewish life in Budapest from Medieval times to the present, the subtext is a history of the many facets of the culture and peoples of Budapest from earliest times to the present.” (Amazon.Com)
Places to visit:
The Grand Synagogue and the Jewish Museum (VII., Dohány utca 2-8.)
The largest currently functioning synagogue of Europe was finished in 1859, in Neo-Moorish style. The two bulbous domes are over 43 meters high. The interior space has a flat ceiling and a capacity for nearly three thousand believers: there are 1497 seats for men on the groundfloor, while the two galleries on the upper floor have 1472 seats for women. (See a short video here). The Jewish Museum is on the left of the grand synagogue, the building was erected in 1932. Its treasures survived World War II in the basement of the National Museum.
Holocaust Memorial Center (IX, Páva u. 49.)
This special building complex, which consists of a synagogue refurbished for museum purposes and a newly built section, was opened in 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Holocaust. The institution conducts research, collection as well as educational activities. The building also has a memorial wall of the victims, which will gradually feature the names of all Hungarian victims, probably over half a million.
Places to eat:
Note: most places of Jewish interest concentrate in the 7th district of Budapest – the old Jewish Quarter. The quarter is also ripe for urban renewal and it is currently the preferred neighborhood of Hungarian and Jewish hipsters.
Spinoza House (VII., Dob utca 15.)
A relaxed but culturally vibrant coffeehouse/restaurant in the style ofthe 1920’s in the heart of “Jewish Budapest”. Spinoza House also has a small theatre with comedies, Jewish cabaret and concerts.
Kádár ütkezde (bistro) (VII., Klauzál tér 9.)
It is a small and “shabby” (but very charming) traditional restaurant, where strangers sit together at the few tables, which all have soda water in the middle. The menu always includes solet (cholent). One of the significant gastronomic relics of the old Pest. See this blog-entry for more.
Rosenstein Restaurant (VIII. Festetics u. 7.)
The upscale Rosentein restaurant is a traditional family restaurant – offering numerous Jewish culinary classics such as goose dishes and cholent.
Frõlich Cukrszda (Confectionery) (VII., Dob utca 22.)
It offers a complete range of Jewish pastry, including the „flodni”. Lately they have been offering magazines to read as well.
Fészek Mûvészklub (”Artist’s Club”) (VII, Kertész u. 36.)
“The legendary Fészek is a former Communist entertainment complex that makes no attempt to hide its glorious (but very distant-seeming) past. The over-the-top interior comes complete with peeling paintwork, worn out carpets and a variety of dining, drinking and dancing options, including a pizzeria, restaurant, upstairs lounge bar, summer courtyard and delightfully skanky basement club which is often open until past dawn. Watch out for the authentic old-school doorman: almost asleep one minute and super cranky the next.” (Pestiside.hu)
Places to hang out (nightlife):
Sirály (VII, Király u. 50.)
The three-level Sirály is a “non-official Jewish urban space” which quickly became a meeting point for young and hip Jews after its opening in October 2006. The three-level Sirály includes a bar, a movie screening room, a basement level for concerts and theatre and a top level for discussions and a small library. Free wifi!
Szóda Café and Bar (VII, Wesselényi u. 18.)
“Szóda belongs to the rare breed of bar that is cool without trying too hard. The retro-futuristic logo just seems so now, the soda bottle gimmick is kept at arm’s length, the oversized cartoon strips are plastered discretely on the ceiling, and the seating and lighting is suitably low-key. The crowd is also too cool to pin down, or even worry too much about. Everyone seems to be doing their own thing: chatting, chilling and fiddling with laptops (free wifi!) by day, playing csocsó and downing shots in the evenings, or dancing the night away in the cellar below.” (Pestiside.hu)
Szimpla (VII. Kazinczy u. 14.)
The granddaddy of Budapest’s kert (courtyard-garden) scene, Szimpla is an alternative culture mecca for locals and visitors alike. Szimpla Kert mixes a junkyard aesthetic with such modcoms as Wifi, a nice cafe during the day, live music and regular indie film screenings.
Centropa is an international team of historians, filmmakers, web designers, journalists, educators, photographers and Jewish community activists with a goal to create a window into Jewish history, and current events, in Central and Eastern Europe. Their largest project is Witness to a Jewish Century, a searchable online library of Jewish family pictures, and the memories that go with them.
Central Europan University – Jewish Studies
Established in the years of euphoria following the fall of Communism, Central European University offers a unique opportunity for students to study the ramified Jewish experience in Central and Eastern Europe from the eighteenth century until today.
JewishGen Hungarian Jewish Genealogy
JewishGen’s Hungarian Special Interest Group (H-SIG) is for those with Jewish roots in the area known as “greater Hungary” or pre-Trianon Hungary and covers all those areas that were once predominantly Hungarian-speaking. This includes all of present-day Hungary and Slovakia and lands that are now within Romania, the Ukraine, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia.
Lauder Javne School (XII., Budakeszi út 48.)
The building of the secular Jewish school was finished in 1996, based on the plans of Csaba Virág. The name of the institution includes that of the investor, Ronald S. Lauder and the city of Javne (After the destruction of the Shrine, this city became the centre of Jewish spititual life during the reign of Emperor Vespasianus.