OUR PRESENT 2018-11-19T13:19:28+00:00

Our Present

Learn how JCC Budapest is the place where Jewish life is being inspired today

Friends of JCC Budapest JCC Today woman kids menorah

The JCC Budapest’s popularity is a bold affirmation that Jewish life is an integral and enduring component of Hungarian and European culture. Its success and continuity should matter to all those who care about Jewish life abroad.

Today, with the vital support of Jews around the world and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Budapest JCC has become a central address for a Jewish renaissance in the heart of Europe. At stake today is the very survival of this flourishing renaissance.

Jewish Influence

Having lived in Hungary for several centuries, Jews were well-assimilated into Hungarian society. Before the Holocaust, the Jewish Hungarian population numbered some 800,000 people.  Jewish professionals represented one-fourth of the country’s medical establishment, writers, musicians, scientists, law firms, engineers and journalists. Jewish athletes won a high percentage of Olympic medals for Hungary and Jewish scientists earned numerous Nobel awards and other prestigious prizes.

The Holocaust and the Communist era

The Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust. In a few short months in 1944, 600,000 Jews lost their lives in Auschwitz. The notorious Adolf Eichmann himself directed the genocide, from his headquarters at the Dohany Street Synagogue. See our story about the family of Gyuri for a personal look at this history.

During the communist era, while Jewish religious practice and cultural contributions to society were largely repressed, Jewish consciousness managed to endure, as one Jewish Hungarian puts it, “behind the curtains.”

JCC Budapest and the resurgence of Jewish-self recognition and engagement

After the fall of Communism, and fifty years after the trauma of the Holocaust, in 1994, the JDC established the JCC Budapest, known popularly in Hungary as Bálint Ház. During this time, Jewish life began to reemerge as part of an extraordinary flourishing of Hungarian culture and opportunity. the JCC was at the forefront of the rebuilding of the Jewish community and its successful programs engage over 30,000 Jews each year.

But this is only part of the story. It is believed that the number of Hungarians with Jewish ancestry numbers some 150,000. From the beginning, when people began to grapple with the question of what does it mean to be Jewish and where do I search for answers. Today, the JCC offers cultural and educational opportunities for people coming out of “hibernation” and desiring to explore what Judaism can mean to them personally, and is also a place to meet other Jews and reconnect to their Jewish heritage.

Be sure to view our feature taking you inside the vibrant life of the JCC.

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Fran Meckler Photography, www.franmeckler.com

The Heartbeat of
Jewish Budapest

2500visitors per month

17,000Facebook followers

160members of the Shalom Club for Holocaust survivors

12,000attendees at Judafest, a street fair celebrating Jewish Life and culture

The Jewish Quarter in the heart of an elegant and ancient city

The JCC Budapest is located near the historic Jewish Quarter. Today, that quarter has become a mecca of cafes, shops, restaurants, and clubs, all which are experiencing an urban revival of its own.

Friends of JCC Budapest JCC Today Jewish Quarter restaurant

The Dohány Street Synagogue in the Quarter is the largest in Europe, with seating for over 3,000 worshipers. The Synagogue and its courtyards contain the Jewish Museum, Heroes’ Temple, a Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, and the Jewish Cemetery.

The JCC is a bold statement that Jews are an integral part of Hungarian and European life and here to stay. Its success matters to all who care about Jewish life abroad.

Today, with the vital support of Jews around the world and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) the Budapest JCC has become a central address for a Jewish renaissance in the heart of Europe.
At stake today is the very survival of this flourishing renaissance.

Jewish Influence

Before the Shoah, the Jewish Hungarian population probably numbered some 600,000. Jewish families operated more than half of Budapest businesses. Jews also represented one-fourth of all university students and a large part of the Hungarian medical establishment, law firms, engineers, journalists and other writers, and musicians identified as Jews. Jewish athletes won a high percentage of the Olympic gold medals for Hungary; and Jewish scientists earned many Nobel awards and other prestigious prizes.

The Holocaust And The Communist era

But the Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust. In a few short months in 1944, over 400,000 Jews were annihilated in the camps in and around Auschwitz. Adolf Eichmann himself directed the genocide, from headquarters in Budapest’s occupied Dohany Street Synagogue. See our story about the family of Gyuri for a personal look at this history.

During the communist era, while overt Jewish contributions to society were suppressed, Jewish culture and consciousness managed to carry on, as one Jewish Hungarian puts it, “behind the curtains.”

JCC Budapest and Resurgence of Jewish Culture

The JDC established the JCC Budapest at the end of the Communist era, after the fall of the Iron Curtain and a half-century after the trauma of the Holocaust. Known popularly after the building in which it is housed, Balint House, the JCC was created in 1994.

During this early time, Jewish life was reborn in Hungary as part of an extraordinary flowering of culture and opportunity. The JCC Budapest pioneered community building in Hungary and successful efforts to engage with over 100,000 Jews in Hungary today, the largest numbers by far in Central Europe and the only original large Jewish community in Europe.

From the first, Jews in Hungary began to grapple with the question of what it means to be Jewish and to search for gateways into Jewish life. The JCC is now a physical home – which serves as a hub for Jews to search for cultural and learning opportunities, to experience what it means to be Jewish, to meet other Jews, and to reconnect to their Jewish heritage.

Be sure to view our feature taking you inside the vibrant life of the JCC and what is at stake in its growth.

The Heartbeat of
Jewish Budapest

2500visitors per month

15,000Facebook followers

160members of the Shalom Club for Holocaust survivors

12,000people at Judafest, a public celebration of Jewish Life

The Jewish Quarter in the heart of an elegant and ancient city

The JCC Budapest was created in the historic Jewish Quarter. Today, that quarter has become a center of cafes, shops, restaurants, and clubs in an urban revival of its own.

Friends of JCC Budapest JCC Today Jewish Quarter restaurant

The Dohány Street Synagogue in this Quarter, is the largest in Europe. The buildings and the courtyards of the Synagogue include the Jewish Museum, Heroes’ Temple, Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, and the Jewish Cemetery.