Welcome to the JCC Budapest, a place of Jewish rebirth in Europe! I am privileged to greet you as the third director of this institution. When I was 13 years old I was enrolled in the Lauder Javne Jewish School in Budapest. At that time, I was completely unaware of my Jewish background. Neither my parents, my siblings, nor I ever received any Jewish education before I went to the school. Forgetting about our Jewish roots was a way of survival for my family – and we almost succeeded. Almost. However, thanks to Jewish initiatives that were made possible by the JDC and other American philanthropists, my generation got a second chance to revive Hungarian Jewry. Thanks to the numerous Jewish schools, summer camps, youth movements, and institutions, such as the JCC Budapest, many of us found our way back to the Jewish community, making it our mission to ensure that there will be a Jewish future in Hungary.
What does it mean to be Jewish in the 21st century? This is a question that is asked by many these days. If we want to be true to our tradition and heritage, how dare we give a simple answer to that question? The JCC Budapest encourages people to be interested in, involved in and in touch with their community and their Judaism. Not only do people learn about Judaism in our community center, but people also come together to form communities, to enjoy themselves, and also to help each other. The JCC is a vibrant space that aims to strengthen our identity, to help people find their way back to their roots, and to give new meaning to what Judaism represents.
We invite you to be a part of our story, so that together we can write the next chapters in the history of Hungarian Jewry!
— Marcell Kenesei, JCC Director