In the News

A Moment of teaching

Dr. George Berci

Life Through Historic Events

Dr. George Berci, a Hungarian surgeon now living in Los Angeles, shares his story of growing up in Hungary and facing numerous historical events. In this video, Dr. Berci recounts these moments from his perspective and memory.

An incredibly interesting and engaging video narrative, this video provides context for Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe which we encourage individuals to watch. 

Dr. Berci has been awarded several prestigious awards and recognitions for his work in the field of endoscopy. Dr. Berci turned 100 in 2021 and continues to teach others about Jewish life and medical advances. 

Click this link or the photo next to the text to view the video. 

JCC Events

A week at Szarvas

JCC Budapest

For a week in June, we organized a summer camp for individuals part of our All Hearts program. This camp served 17 adults with intellectual disabilities plus another 9 helpers. 

While it was our first time hosting a camp like this, we were so pleased with the turnout and participation. Each day, everyone was eager to engage in the different activities including swimming, dancing, singing, and visiting local attractions in the town of Szarvas. 

Hosted at Camp Szarvas, the JDC-Lauder International Youth Camp, participants also had the chance to meet many of the madrichim who were in training to lead campers during the rest of the summer. We even got to celebrate a birthday for one of our participants and the madrachim sang each of their nation’s birthday songs.

For many, this is a week that will not be forgotten and we are incredible grateful for all of our partners who helped make this happen. It was truly incredible. 

JCC Events

Upcoming Pride Events

JCC Budapest

Join us as we celebrate diversity, raise awareness, and stand up against homophobia and oppression. Together, we can create a world where everyone feels valued and accepted. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the incredible events we have planned: 

Understanding Online Hate Speech 

21st of June, Wednesday, 18:30  

Discover how online hate speech works and explore ways to combat it. Let’s come together to promote a kinder, more respectful online community. 

Living Beyond Fear 

22nd of June, Thursday, 18:30 

Be inspired by a courageous story of resilience and learn how to overcome adversity after experiencing abuse. Together, we can support each other and build a brighter future. 

Minorities in the Hungarian Public Sphere 

June 28, Wednesday, 18:00  

Join us for an insightful discussion on the representation and challenges faced by minorities in the Hungarian public sphere. Together, we can work towards a more inclusive society 

LGBTQ+ Shabbat morning service 

15th of July, Saturday 

Experience an inclusive LGBTQ+ event. Let us gather in unity and celebrate our shared values of love, acceptance, and respect. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1454698922003611

Budapest Pride and Civilian Village booth 

15th of July, Saturday 

March with us at the Budapest Pride Parade as we proudly show our solidarity. Visit our booth at the Civil Village, where you can connect with the community, learn more about LGBTQ+ topics, and share in the joy of togetherness. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1210266893022501

JCC Stories

A Visit to the US

Marcell Kenesei

Wow! I’m speechless.

At the beginning of the New Year, I was traveling with our Deputy Director, Jutka, in the United States. From Atlanta to Palm Beach to New York City, we have been thrilled to meet with our partners and supporters.

I started my trip in Atlanta at the JCCs of North America Mifgash. Over 140 amazing JCC leaders from all over the world came together to collaborate, inspire, and learn from one another—I certainly left feeling extra motivated to continue our work in Hungary! 

Jutka joined me in beautiful Florida to meet with the Mandel JCC of Palm Beach, the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach, and many of our partners in the area, which is always a pleasure. I cannot begin to express how much we appreciate the hospitality, openness, kindness, and warmth we received from our friends in Florida. 

The Palm Beach team has been a partner for quite some time now and being able to rejoice in person felt like a family reunion—we are incredibly grateful. 

In Brooklyn, we met with the UJA Federation and Marks JCH team to learn about their work and to be inspired. They are an incredible institution and an example of how Jewish communities should stand up for all human values. It was moving to learn from them and are we are thankful for their collaboration. 

Click the photo to watch a video of our trip!

JCC Stories

Andrii's Story

23 February, 2023

My name is Andriy Slyusarev and I was born and raised in the district town of Boyarka, which is 10 kilometers from the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. 

 

I graduated with a degree in accounting and auditing, and worked for a pension fund, reaching the position of head of the audit department. After two years working there, I left the fund and created an organization providing engineering services to construction companies with my brother, Serhiy

 

In my free time, I loved riding my mountain bike and traveling, often going to Ukraine’s mountains (Carpathians and Crimea) and seas. On February 19th, 2022, my friend and I left Kyiv to go skiing in the Alps. Around 4 a.m. on February 24, war in Ukraine broke out.

 

In the beginning, I did not fully understand what was happening, so I called home and received a clear answer from my family: do not return home. I then called my cousin, who lives in Budapest, asking if I could stay with them. 

 

On February 25, I attended a Shabbat at JCC Budapest where we were told of a volunteer opportunity to help Jewish refugees in a nearby hotel. Since then, I have been working with JCC Budapest and have been a part of the team to support other refugees. 

 

Some of the most joyful, yet saddest, moments are our charity drives. I often see the sadness in the eyes of those coming, yet also a spark of hope knowing that the Jewish community is here to support us as refugees. Through sports, programming, and dance, there have been different opportunities for our refugee community to create a community of friends here in Budapest.

 

While the future is still unclear, I now have more hope as I look to maybe go to the U.S. or Canada. In the meantime, I know that I’ll continue to support my fellow refugees here in Budapest and my relatives back home in Ukraine any way I can. 

Featured in JDC Voices

At JCC Budapest, Building a Proud and Open Jewish Life

29 June, 2022

Since I was a child, it’s been my life’s mission to cultivate Jewish life in Hungary. 

And in a sense, the story of Jewish Hungary is also my story — over the last three decades, we’ve grown up together, becoming more open, more authentic, and more proud. 

It wasn’t always easy to be openly Jewish here. I was born in Budapest in the 1980s, right before the fall of communism and, like many people my age, I had no knowledge of my Jewish roots. For my parents, and my parents’ parents, their Jewishness was kept quiet. 

All of that changed when I was admitted to the Lauder Javne Community School in Budapest. While there, I got connected to a larger Jewish community, history, and set of traditions. I discovered that I was Jewish, and not only accepted this part of my identity, but openly embraced it. 

Featured in the Jewish Journal

During L.A. Visit, JCC Budapest Director Discusses Community-Building

9 June, 2022

Holocaust memory is critical to Jewish identity, but Marcell Kenesei wants the Hungarian-Jewish people to transcend the traumas of the Shoah. 

The 38-year-old spoke to the Journal about the future of Hungarian Jewry during a three-day visit to Los Angeles, where he attempted to raise support and awareness for the community-building work of the JCC Budapest — Bálint Ház. 

During a wide-ranging conversation at a café in Beverly Hills, the JCC Budapest director highlighted how the JCC in Hungary is fostering a diverse, pluralistic and vibrant Judaism. 

 
 
 
 
Featured in Jewish News Virginia

Your Dollars at Work: JCC Budapest assists refugees

24 March, 2022

The JCC has initiated cooperation between Jewish organizations that are active in Hungary. The goal is to organize and coordinate the efforts of the Jewish community, to make it more efficient, which has resulted in the cooperation of more than 50 organizations to help its Ukrainian Chaverim. This coalition is led by the JCC and includes JDC (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee), MAZSIHISZ (The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities), the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the WJC (World Jewish Congress).

Featured in UJA Federation NEw York

JCC Budapest Support Ukrainian Refugees (Video)

Featured in Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS)

A Special Look with Shahar Azani: "A Jewish Revival in Hungary" (Featuring Marcell Kenesei) (Video)

Featured in forward.com

For Central Europe’s Jews, Hanukkah is a way of life

December 4, 2020

For some Jews, “from generation to generation” is the most exhausted expression in Jewish life. Pointing to some endless chain of faceless ancestors passing on traditions like lighting the Menorah is stale routine and taken for granted.

Featured in theculturetrip.com

Coming Home: The Revival of Jewish Life in Budapest

December 17, 2019

After decimation during the Holocaust and the curtailment of Jewish practice under Communist rule, today Jewish culture is flourishing in Budapest. Twenty-six-year-old Hungarian teacher Dávid Hollós explores his city’s vibrant Jewish community, while delving deeper into his own Jewish heritage and identity.

Featured in Jewish News Syndicate

Hungarian Jews examine long-lost identity, and a JCC is there to help them

November 16, 2018

Jews in Hungary are discovering their roots for the first time since the end of Communist rule in 1989, and the only Jewish Community Center in the country is helping them get closer to their heritage.

 

Featured in The New York Jewish Week

From Jewish Hungary, A Not-So Halloween Tale

October 30, 2018

With Halloween upon us, everyone loves a good ghost story. A native of Hungary, I’ve learned this about the U.S.

I also learned that for many Jewish visitors to Europe — including some I’ve met in New York City during a visit the last week — ghosts are what they think they’ll find in the communities where their ancestors once lived.

 

Featured in The Times Of Israel

Thousands in Budapest flock to Jewish street fair in sign of community’s revival

11 June, 2018

With Halloween upon us, everyone loves a good ghost story. A native of Hungary, I’ve learned this about the U.S.

I also learned that for many Jewish visitors to Europe — including some I’ve met in New York City during a visit the last week — ghosts are what they think they’ll find in the communities where their ancestors once lived.

 

Featured in European Jewish Congress

Hungary’s ‘missing’ Jews come out of hibernation to take community’s helm

18 May, 2018

As past trauma and current census policy make calculating the number of Hungarian Jews impossible, young leaders engage uncounted Jews like themselves, and welcome them home

Featured in Jewish Federation of San Diego County

Forging Hungary’s Jewish Future

18 May, 2018

My name is Susanna Green. I was born and grew up in Hungary, but I have been living in the United States for decades.

Through JDC and my friends Carol and Ted Levy, I met Zsuzsa Fritz on my last visit to Budapest. She is the director of the Balint Haz JCC in Budapest and educational director of Szarvas, JDC and the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation’s flagship international Jewish summer camp. But mostly, for me, she is the heart and soul of Jewish life in Hungary.