Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Home Sweet Home?


Parents must frequently ask themselves: What kind of home do we have? Is it a place that develops unhappy attitudes, complaining, and irritability? Or is our home a sanctuary of cheerfulness, of liking everyone, where incriminations and useless nagging are never heard?


Love Yehuda Lave

Doheny Synagogue in Budapest the Second largest synagogue in Europe

Speaking of home, as I said on Friday, I am home from my 16 day, four country tour of Europe. The biggest thing I have to share was the seeing of my Grandfather's grave in Germany and learning about the death of my only Aunt and first cousin in the Holocaust. But that was at the end of my trip, I want to share over the next few weeks my trip as it was done chronologically. The only problem is that on the last night of our trip in Budapest, as we were sleeping we were burgularized and my computer and phone were stolen. Bless G-d we were ok, but I lost six days of Budapest pictures I can't share. But on the last day, I went to the Doheny Synagoge and took the pictures below. There are no accidents and on this same email, I already had the pictures of a Tel Aviv trip a month earlier where we saw the Great Synagoge of Tel Aviv, the second largest in Israel. Call this email, the second largest synagoge email and I hope you enjoy both you tube videos. The synagoge in Tel Aviv is still used by Orthodox services, while the one in Budapest is used by Neolog Movement Jews, which I explain below

Can a DNA Test Determine Jewish Status?

By Yehuda Shurpin

Acording to Jewish law, tribal affiliation (including whether one is a kohen) follows the direct paternal line, while the question of Jewishness follows the maternal line. Does this mean that genetic testing is a valid way of ascertaining whether one is Jewish or a kohen?

First, some basics. Females have XX chromosomes and males have XY. All females carry one X chromosome from their mother and one X chromosome from their father. Males, on the other hand, get their X chromosome from their mother and their Y chromosome from father. Since these chromosomes are passed from one generation to the next, it is theoretically possible to identify one’s ancestors through genetic testing.

Jewish Ancestry and Mitochondrial DNA

As mentioned, Jewish identity follows the maternal line. If your mother is Jewish, you’re Jewish. However, there is no such thing as a “Jewish gene,” so genetic testing cannot conclusively state whether a person is Jewish.

However, there does seem to be at least one way in which genetics may be used to help determine a person's Jewishness. This involves using what is called mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA), which is passed exclusively from the mother through the female line.

In a fascinating study published in 2006, it was shown that 40% of all Ashkenazi Jews are descended from just four Jewish women who lived more than 1,000 years ago. The study concluded that if someone bears specific mitochondrial DNA markers, there is a 90-99% chance that he or she is descended from one of these Jewish women.1

Of course, there are the other 60% of Ashkenazi Jews who do not come from these four women, as well as Sephardic Jews and converts.

Nevertheless, although still a matter of debate, there are some who hold that in a case where there is some evidence of Jewishness but no iron-clad proof, having this marker in conjunction with other supporting evidence can be used to conclude that the person is indeed Jewish.2

(As a disclaimer, this article is for informational purposes only. All practical questions regarding one’s Jewish identity should be directed to a qualified rabbi.)

The Kohen Gene

We can now turn to the question of kohanim (Jewish priests).

All kohanim are directly descended—on their father's side—from Aaron the High Priest (Moses’ brother). Knowing that a copy of the Y chromosome is passed from father to son, Dr. Karl Skorecki, together with other colleagues, conducted a study in the 1990s to analyze and compare the Y chromosomes of kohanim with those of the non-kohen Jewish population.

In addition to the genes in the Y chromosome that determine if a person is male, the chromosome mostly consists of non-coding DNA, which tends to accumulate mutations. Based on the fact that the Y chromosome is passed down the paternal line without recombination, the genetic information on a Y chromosome of a man living today is basically the same as that of his ancient male ancestors, except for the rare mutations that occur along the hereditary line. A combination of these neutral mutations, known as a haplotype, can serve as a genetic signature of a man’s male ancestry.

Looking at six kinds of the YAP haplotype of the Y chromosome and comparing their frequency in kohanim and Jewish non-kohanim, Dr. Skorecki found that the majority of self-identified kohanim, both those of Sephardic as well as Ashkenazi descent, are all descended from the same person who lived roughly 3,000 years ago.

It should be noted that this marker was found in a much lower frequency among Jews who had no tradition of being kohanim, and in an even lower rate among non-Jews (although interestingly, it was found in a higher rate among the Lemba tribe in Africa, who have a tradition of being descendants of Jews).3

However, kohen status is dependent not only upon being the biological descendant of Aaron, but upon numerous other factors as well. For example, if a kohen marries a divorcée (or certain other women), their offspring would not be kohanim. So if one carries the genetic marker of kohanim, then perhaps he had a kohen in his ancestry, but he himself may not be a kohen or even Jewish, since that is dependent upon the mother.

Our sages tell us that when Moshiach comes, he will clarify our lineage and determine who in fact is a kohen, Levite or Israelite.4 May we merit the messianic era speedily in our time!

Footnotes 1.

See Doron M. Behar, et al. “The Matrilineal Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jewry: Portrait of a Recent Founder Event,American Journal of Human Genetics 78, no. 3 (March 2006): 487–497.


See responsum B'Mareh HaBazak 9:30.


See Karl Skorecki, et al. "Y chromosomes of Jewish priests," Nature 385 (1997), and subsequent study, Mark G. Thomas, et al. "Origins of Old Testament priests," Nature 394 (July 1998) 138-139.


See Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 12:3.

by Yehuda Shurpin A noted scholar and researcher, Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin serves as content editor at, and writes the popular weekly Ask Rabbi Y column. Rabbi Shurpin is the rabbi of the Chabad Shul in St. Louis Park, Minn., where he resides with his wife, Ester, and their children. Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom. More from Yehuda Shurpin  |  RSS © Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.

Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv.

On December 24th, 2018 the lovers take the free train to Tel Aviv to walk up Allenby and the first stop is the Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv.

The second largest synagogue in Israel (after the Great Synagogue of Jerusalem
The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv is located on 110 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv, just east of the Shalom Tower. The building was designed by Yehuda Magidovitch in 1922 and completed in 1926. It was renovated in 1970 with a new external facade of arches. Wikipedia

The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv is located on 110 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv, just east of the Shalom Tower. The building was designed by Yehuda Magidovitch in 1922 and completed in 1926. It was renovated in 1970 with a new external facade of arches.

In the past, the synagogue was at the center of Little Tel Aviv, but today the building lies at the heart of the business and financial center. The emigration of the local residents during the 1960s brought about a recognizable reduction in the number of prayer-goers in The Great Synagogue, such that today the impressive building is used by only few congregants who pray on holidays and special occasions. In recent years, public figures have decided to conduct their Jewish wedding ceremonies at the synagogue.


The History of the Building

In 1913 a cornerstone was set in preparation for The Great Synagogue to be established on Yehuda Halevi Street. The construction was not undertaken because of various reasons, and in 1914 the Committee for The Great Synagogue conducted an open competition for architects for planning The Great Synagogue on Allenby Street. Architect Richard Michael won this competition, and also advanced the program for the synagogue. With the outbreak of World War I, Michael was drafted to the German army and forced to leave the country, and therefore did not complete the building plans for the synagogue building. He was replaced by Jewish German architect Alexander Baerwald, who was also the building planner for the Technion building in Haifa (1912), the Hebrew Reali School (1912), and other private and municipal buildings in Tel Aviv.

The synagogue during the 1930s

In 1924 the cornerstone of the building was set in Allenby Street, as per the plans of the architect Yehuda Magidovitch. Construction of the synagogue building was delayed due to insufficient funds, until receiving a donation from Baron Rothschild, which brought the building to completion in 1925 by the constructor Samuel Nathan Wilson. The dome of the building was planned by the engineer Arpad Geuthe.

In 1969, with the intention to revive the synagogue and adapt it to milieu of the time, the building underwent drastic renovation by the plans of the architect Aryeh Elhanani, who added arches and cement supports to the building, thereby transforming the building into the style of modernism. Similarly, changes were made to the facade of the building, the furniture, Torah Ark, and lighting.

The Great Synagogue interior

The building features a huge dome, elaborate lighting fixtures, and magnificent stained glass windows. The glass windows are replicas of windows of synagogues that were destroyed in Europe during the Holocaust.[1]

The Building's Periphery

The planning for the building's periphery was crafted by architect Ze'ev Rechter at the end of the 1930s. Rechter planned an Italian-style plaza to wrap around the northern and eastern side of the building. The plaza would wrap around a row of houses, elevated above the landline by oriental arches which would create space for commercial shops.

This plan was only partially carried out, and amongst the planned houses only Beit Manny was built as planned.

Weapon Storage

After the King David Hotel Bombing in 1946, British authorities found weapons stored in the basement of the synagogue. In light of this finding, the synagogue caretaker Eliezer Neuman was detained and sentenced by military authorities to a one-year term.



"Great Synagogue (The)". Retrieved 2009-02-04.

The fundamentals of the Jewish way in death and mourning:

Determining the occurrence of death. Death is when the soul no longer animates the body, not when the body cannot express the soul.

What is done—and not done—with the body. The body must be treated as a holy object —in a way that demonstrates its partnership in the soul's eternal endeavors. At the same time, it may not be treated as if it was the entirety or even the primary aspect of the person.

The depth—and limits—of mourning. One must mourn but not despair due to the loss of this individual from our lives.

Memory and connection. We engage in spiritual activity that affirms our continuing relationship with deceased and the deceased's continuing path of life.
Not the end. We believe that death is a temporary and reversible state; a stage of life, not its destination. ****************************************

The Secret Of Redemption By Rabbi David Kupinsky

Former Rosh Kollel Memphis (2014-15)
 Currently Director of Marketing and Sales at For almost two thousand years the Jewish Nation has been in exile. We are fortunate enough to see the beginning of the Geula, but there is still much more that awaits us.
We did not return to the Land of Israel just to be safe and just to  have a Homeland. We have a goal, a purpose and the more we fulfill it, the better we will become, and with us the rest of the world.

A scientist once brought his seven-year-old son who wasn't feeling well to work with him. Unfortunately, the son was bored and did not let his father work. He was constantly badgering his father to do something with him. To receive a bit of peace the father gave his son a task.
"You like puzzles - right?," he asked.
The son answered, "Sure, I love them."
The father tore out a page from a magazine that had a picture of the world. He tore the page up to many little pieces. 
He gave his son some tape and the following task, "Fix the World!" 
He thought he would have at least on hour of quiet.
Much to his surprise, his son came back a few minutes later and the task was done.
"Wow - that's amazing. His did you fix the world so quickly?"
The boy turned the page over and on the other side was a picture of a child.
"I fixed the boy and the world was fixed by itself."

The midrash asks:
Why did Am Yisrael deserve to be saved and redeemed from Egypt?
Rabbi Huna answered: Because of four things: they did not change their language, they did not change their clothing, they did not speak evil of one another (Loshon Harah), and they did not compromise the family structure. (Gilui Arayot).

Sometimes, we are tempted to be like everybody else. The latest fashion, the latest gossip, accepting alternate lifestyles with pride. Some would say, that by being more like the rest of the world we can influence them more, but at the same time the opposite can be claimed. We can lose our own unique identity if we are like everybody else.

There is a sad occurrence in Israel where Jews have a Xmas tree in their house. The media talks fondly of how understanding and accepting we are of other religions, even to the extent that we embrace their customs. 
We have such a rich culture that goes back thousands of years, with so many meaningful customs and guidelines. Traditions that make us who we are. 
How self-loathing do we have to be, to forsake our own heritage and celebrate with those who in their not-so-far past used their holiday as a platform for hatred and prosecution?

We can and should respect and honor other people and their religions and beliefs, but in no way should we adopt their unique  customs or support beliefs that contradict our own.

That is the lesson of Rabbi Huna and the source for our merit for redemption.

The way to fix the world and bring the redemption starts with us fixing ourselves. Being the best we can be is the way to go.

Wearing clothing that are dignified, that show how much we respect the Image of G-d that is part of each and every one of us.
Using the Holy language of the Bible and of our forefathers, which shows how connected we are to the past and that we continue those values that they encompassed.
Seeing only good in people, and avoiding speaking evil of others - Sinnat Chinam - acting hateful for no reason.
Upholding the family structure and values.

This is the formula for us to succeed as individuals, as a nation, and The Secret Of Redemption. 

May it come speedily in our days and may we see miracles like in the time of Exodus of Egypt.

Why Teachers Drink

Here is a smattering of actual answers to the following questions that were in last year's GED examination   

  Q. Name the four seasons  A.. Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar 

   Q. How is dew formed?  A.. The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire. 

   Q. What guarantees may a mortgage company insist on?  A.. If you are buying a house they will insist that you are well endowed.   

   Q. In a democratic society, how important are elections?  A.. Very important. Sex can only happen when a male gets an election.  

     Q. What are steroids?  A..Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs. 

     Q. What happens to your body as you age?  A.. When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.  

     Q. What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?  A.. He says goodbye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery. (So true)    

Q. Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.  A.. Premature death.

       Q. What is artificial insemination?  A.. When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow. 

   Q. How can you delay milk turning sour?  A.. Keep it in the cow. (Simple, but brilliant)   

   Q. How are the main 20 parts of the body categorized (e.g. The abdomen)?  A.. The body is consisted into 3 parts - the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels: A,E,I,O,U   


  2. What is the fibula? 
  3. A.. A small lie   
  5. Q. What does 'varicose' mean? 
  6. A.. Nearby 
  8. Q. What is the most common form of birth control? 
  9. A.. Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium.(THAT would work)   
  11. Q. Give the meaning of the term 'Caesarean section' 
  12. A.. The Caesarean section is a district in Rome   
  14. Q. What is a seizure? 
  15. A.. A Roman Emperor. (Julius Seizure, I came, I saw, I had a fit)   
  17. Q. What is a terminal illness? 
  18. A.. When you are sick at the airport. (Irrefutable)   
  20. Q. What does the word 'benign' mean? 
  21. A.. Benign is what you will be after you be eight (brilliant)   
  25. Q. What is a turbine? 
  26. A.. Something a Sheik wears on his head.

Our society is doomed!

Doheny Synagogue in Budapest the Second largest synagogue in Europe

Neolog Judaism

Neologs (Hungarian: neológ irányzat, "Neolog Faction") are one of the two large communal organizations among Hungarian Jewry. Socially, the liberal and modernist Neologs had been more inclined toward integration into Hungarian society since the Era of Emancipation in the 19th century. This was their main feature, and they were largely the representative body of urban, assimilated middle- and upper-class Jews. Religiously, the Neolog rabbinate was influenced primarily by Zecharias Frankel's Positive-Historical School, from which Conservative Judaism evolved as well, although the formal rabbinical leadership had little sway over the largely assimilationist communal establishment and congregants. Their rift with the traditionalist and conservative Orthodox Jews was institutionalized following the 1868–1869 Hungarian Jewish Congress, and they became a de facto separate denomination. The Neologs remained organizationally independent in those territories ceded under the terms of the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, and are still the largest group among Hungary's Jews.


BackgroundMain article: History of the Jews in Hungary

In the early 19th century, when the first attempts to reform Judaism under the influence of Enlightenment were made, they had little impact in the Kingdom of Hungary. Rabbi Aaron Chorin of Arad was an early proponent of religious modification; from the publication of his 1803 book "Emeq ha-Shave" and onwards, he dismissed Practical Kabbalah and the Book of Radiance, authored guidelines for modernizing Judaism according to Talmudic principles and sought to remove what he regarded as superstitious or primitive elements, like spitting in the prayer of Aleinu. In 1818, Chorin was one of the few rabbis who backed the Hamburg Temple. He drew the ire of Hungarian Orthodoxy headed by Rabbi Moses Sofer of Pressburg, and, as well, had but meager following in his country. The rural character and social seclusion of the Jews in the kingdom offered little incentive for his endeavor.[1]

With the commencement of the Hungarian Reform Era in 1825, especially after virtually all limitations on Jewish settlement were removed in 1840, the Kingdom's Jews underwent rapid urbanization and acculturation, and many began to assimilate. A gradual linguistic shift from Yiddish to German took place, and later to Hungarian. The pressures that motivated German Jews to seek aesthetic changes in their synagogues a generation earlier began to manifest themselves. In addition, the local Liberals – Lajos Kossuth among them – insisted that Emancipation would be granted only after Jews abandoned the customs that set them apart from society so that they could fully integrate. As in Germany, both moderate and extreme religious reformers in Hungary opposed this demand, claiming civil rights should be unconditional and that the changes they instituted were made for their own sake. However, there was a clear correlation between the levels of education and acculturation and support for change. At that time, the assimilated Jews had long since ceased to uphold traditional religious rules such as Sabbath observance and the requirement for Jewish-cooked food.[2]

CoalescenceInfluences Rabbi Leopold Löw.

In 1827, a young lay leader of the Pesth Jewish community, Gabriel Ullman, established a prayer quorum that practiced the rite of the Vienna Synagogue. This style was carefully crafted by Isaac Noah Mannheimer to introduce aesthetic change without breaching the Code of the Set Table; the Bimah was set in the front of the hall, as in churches, and the wedding canopy was held inside rather than under the sky. An all-male choir accompanied prayers, and the rabbi delivered his sermon in the vernacular, dressed in a cassock. In 1830, the Pesth quorum turned to a fully functional synagogue, and from there the new rite spread to other large cities. The Viennese Rite, wrote Michael Silber, was the key factor in what would be known as "Neology" in Hungary[1] – the designation itself was late, and was first used by the local Orthodox by the end of the 1860s, during the Congress controversy. They borrowed it from Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in Frankfurt, who applied it to denote all religious reformers. The term "Neologs" remained in common use only in Hungary, and became identified with that movement.[3]

As opposed to the German States, the weight of intellectual rabbis in the Hungary was low; the communities' dignitaries were those who led the acceptance of the new ritual, and they were content with what German progressive Jews condemned as "cosmetic changes". The Neologs had theologians who applied critical analysis to the study of Judaism and sought to modify it on the basis of scientific research. Of those, the most prominent was Rabbi Leopold Löw, who was also instrumental in promoting the cause of Emancipation and in the adoption of Hungarian language and national identification among the Jews; he was the first to preach in that language, doing so from 1844. But even he shared the views of Zecharias Frankel, whom he considered his mentor along with Solomon Judah Loeb Rapoport. The ideas of Abraham Geiger and the other German pioneers of Reform Judaism found barely any support in Hungary. In 1845, the Ksav Sofer could still recommend that Jacob Ettlinger approach Löw Schawbb – Rabbi of the largest Neolog center, Pesth, and Leopold's father-in-law – and request to add his signature to a petition against the conferences assembled by Geiger and his colleagues. Leopold Löw supported Frankel's failed attempt to convene a counter-conference in Dresden. Graduates of the Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau, hub of Frankel's Positive-Historical School, were sought after by the liberal congregations in Hungary for the rabbi's office. The Neologs' main efforts were directed at establishing an institution along similar lines in their country. One such graduate, Alexander Kohut, became a Neolog activist and rabbi; afterwards, he immigrated overseas and co-founded the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.[1] Later on, a considerable number of the rabbis affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in its early days arrived from Hungary and were linked with Neology.[4]

Religious strife The hall of the Szeged Synagogue.

During the 1848 Revolution, Ede Horn, a disciple of the radical German rabbi Samuel Holdheim, headed the "Pesth Reform Association", where he abolished circumcision and moved the Sabbath to Sunday. Löw and Schwabb condemned him sharply, and demanded the authorities close down the Association – now headed by David Einhorn, who arrived to replace Horn after the latter fled the country – and similar groups that sprung up at the time of the revolution. In 1851, the victorious Austrians requested Jewish leaders to propose means to govern itself. The authorities did not favor Horn's extreme measures, but were not keen on the Orthodox either. Eventually, a committee chaired by Löw drafted a general constitution, which mandated the forming of a seminary as the only certified institute for training rabbis, sought to apply the aesthetic modifications practiced in Pesth across the country and aimed at creating schools for public education at the communities. The committee defined the Association as "a cult, similar to Hasidism", and had the government disperse it. Jacob Katz viewed the constitution as an important testimony to the "emerging Neolog tendency": while it opposed any changes in the laws of religion pertaining to Sabbath and the holidays, marriage and divorce, dietary regulations etc., it also refused to apply any coercion to enforce them, whether by legal or social means. Rabbi Meir Eisenstaedter, representing the Orthodox, opposed public education and wished that Jewish children continue to be privately tutored in Cheders. He also requested that the government insure that only conservative rabbis be appointed, and that they will be granted jurisdiction to deal with "heretical elements". The Austrians closed the Association but refrained from enforcing the constitution, which was severely opposed by the Orthodox. A network of German-language schools was set in many communities, and it switched to Hungarian in 1860, greatly increasing the acculturation of the Jews. By the time of the official schism in 1868–1871, most of the young were already graduates of these.[5] In the cultural sphere, the Neolog elements tended to embrace Magyarization, while the Orthodox Oberlander Jews in the northwest of the Kingdom were more inclined toward the German culture. The Unterlander Jews in the northeast, even more conservative and barely acculturated, remained Yiddish-speaking. However, after the 1867 Austro-Hungarian Compromise, the Orthodox leadership was quick in declaring its support of Magyar nationalism; by the turn of the century, most Hungarian Jews, regardless of affiliation, viewed themselves as "Magyars of Israelite Faith".[6]

In 1851, a new challenge appeared before Löw and his circle. The modern Orthodox Azriel Hildesheimer arrived from Prussia to serve as rabbi of Eisenstadt, bringing with him the philosophy of Torah im Derech Eretz. While the Neologs did not perceive the "Old Orthodoxy" of Moses Sofer's disciples as a potent competitor for the loyalty of the educated Jews, Hildesheimer signaled a different approach. Neolog publications, especially Löw's Ben Chananja, launched constant tirades against the "Pest of Neo-Orthodoxy", castigating the Eisenstadt rabbi for merely presenting a shallow facade of modernity. His school, which introduced secular studies, was condemned as a "Polish yeshiva under a different name". The Neologs and Hildesheimer often came to public dispute, with the most important taking place in 1863, after Heinrich Graetz was sued for dismissing the traditional concept of a personal Messiah. The affair occurred at a time in which the rift between the modern Orthodox in Germany and Zecharia Frankel's Positive-Historical School was widening. While many still regarded him as an ally, his 1859 treatise Darche ha-Mischna ("Ways of the Mishna") was severely condemned by Samson Raphael Hirsch. Hildesheimer, who was bothered that public opinion did not perceive a difference between both groups in regards to observance, used the Graetz controversy to prove the existence of a dogmatic chasm. He had hundreds of rabbis sign a petition against the historian, denouncing him for violating one of Maimonides' 13 Principles of Faith, a belief in the Messiah, and for doubting the integrity of Scripture. The Neologs, on the other hand, rallied behind Graetz, stating the incident proved that Hildesheimer was rejecting modern Biblical research. By the 1860s, constant conflict between conservative and liberal elements was prevalent in many communities.[1]

SchismMain article: Schism in Hungarian Jewry

In 1867, full emancipation was granted to the Jews in the newly autonomous Hungary. However, no separation of Church and State took place, and all Hungarians were mandated to belong to religious bodies that collected their own taxes and retained control over aspects of civilian lives, like birth registrations and marriage. The Pesth community board suggested forming a united representative organization for all Jews. The Orthodox viewed this proposal with great suspicion, believing it to be a Neolog conspiracy; the term itself entered Orthodox discourse at that time. Eventually, the traditionalists seceded from the founding Congress of the new organ and formed a separate one, which was formally recognized in 1871. Most liberal communities, which were prone to elect like-minded rabbis, joined the first. The majority of the religiously conservative ones affiliated with the Orthodox. Some of both chose to remain independent, under the label "Status Quo". Many congregations split, polarized between progressive and traditional elements, to form two or even three new ones, each selecting a different affiliation. The liberal body, formed at the 1868 Congress in Pesth, was named the National Jewish Bureau. Its members were henceforth known colloquially as "Neologs" or "Congressionals".

The table presents the communal affiliation of Hungarian Jews (from 1920, only in post-Trianon territory).

Year Congressionals/Neologs (%) Autonomous Orthodox (%) Status Quo (%) Hungarian Jews (total) 1880 238,947 (38.2%) 350,456 (56.1%) 35,334 (5.7%) 624,737 1910 392,063 (43.1%) 472,373 (51.9%) 45,155 (5.0%) 909,591 1920 300,026 (63.4%) 146,192 (30.9%) 27,092 (5.7%) 473,310 1930 292,155 (65.7%) 134,972 (30.4%) 17,440 (3.9%) 444,567 1944 269,034 (62.1%) 156,418 (36.1%) 7,653 (1.8%) 433,105 1948 106,130 (79.3%) 23,451 (17.5%) 4,281 (3.2%) 133,862 After 1871 Budapest University of Jewish Studies, 1902.

The functionaries who headed the Bureau sought to minimize differences with the Orthodox. They hoped, among others, to refute the opposing party's claim that they constituted a separate religion. The Hungarian government accepted their stance and recognized the communal associations only as "fractions" (irányzat), stressing that all three belonged "one and the same denomination" (vallásfelekezethez). The Neolog leadership adopted a careful line in matters of faith and practice.[7][8] Leopold Löw, who became increasingly independent in the 1860s, slid toward Geiger's positions and even boycotted the Congress, demonstrating sympathy for the Orthodox. He became estranged from the lay establishment of the Bureau.[9] David Philipson, in his 1907 history of the Reform movement, wrote on the different factions in Hungarian Jewry: "religiously they are practically on the same footing. Religious Reform as conceived in Germany and realized in the United States is unknown."[10] The 1911 Central Conference of American Rabbis' Year Book noted with disappointment: "in the Szegedin and Budapest reform temples, there are no mixed choirs, no family pews, no bareheaded praying and not even confirmation of boys and girls. As to the contents of the prayers themselves, they are the same as the Orthodox have."[11] When Theodor Herzl's confirmation took place in 1873, his family had to hold it at home rather than in the Dohány Street Synagogue.[12] The only Hungarian rabbi in the decades to come who administered some of the ritual changes proposed by Geiger was Ede Neumann, who served in Nagykanizsa from 1883 to 1918.[13] Another attempt for more radical innovations was made by the Pesth layman Ernő Naményi, who founded the Isaiah Religious Association (Ézsaiás Vallásos Társaság) in the early 1930s. They held services inspired by Einhorn's 1848 group in private homes, which included prayers in Hungarian. The local congregation never allowed them to formally organize.[14] In 1932, when Lily Montagu visited Budapest on behalf of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, she met several lay leaders but no Neolog rabbi attended for, as written by Raphael Patai, they "were all Conservative and hence opposed in principle to Liberal or Reform Judaism".[15]

In 1877, the Budapest University of Jewish Studies was founded along the lines of its Breslau archetype. The large majority of rabbis who served in Congressional communities were graduates of the seminary. The main figures in its early years were scholars Moses Löb Bloch, David Kaufmann and Wilhelm Bacher. Judah Schweizer, who surveyed the religious positions of the Neolog rabbis throughout the years, concluded they rarely voiced their opinion. While congregations introduced synagogue organs, played by a non-Jew on the Sabbath, and mixed choirs, traditional liturgy was upheld; only few communities abolished Kol Nidre or Av HaRachamim. The Neolog rabbis also opposed legitimizing intermarriage when they were enabled in Hungary in 1896, after civil unions were authorized. They conducted marriage and divorce according to traditional standards. During the Second World War, when the government banned ritual slaughter on animal rights' grounds, the Neolog rabbinate refused to allow electric shock during the process, declaring an animal slaughtered after such treatment was not kosher. Schweitzer concluded that while the Neolog rabbis were extremely moderate in their approach, they had little influence over the congregants of the Bureau communities, who were inclined toward full assimilation and religiously lax, at best.[16] Prominent rabbinical authorities among the Neologs included also Immanuel Löw of Szeged, Leopold's son, who was one of only two rabbis to be given permanent seat in the Hungarian Upper House of Parliament, alongside the Orthodox Koppel Reich.

In 1896, there were 539 communities affiliated with the Neolog Bureau, 179 of which were mother congregations and the rest smaller ones, subordinated to one of the former. In 1944, prior to the deportation to the death camps, there were 167 such in Trianon Hungary. The majority of these communities were located in the north and west of the kingdom, in the economically developed areas. The Neologs, throughout history, were more affluent, urbanized and integrated than the Orthodox, and had more political clout.[17] The campaigns for granting Judaism the status of an "accepted faith", legally recognized and subsidized by government funds, for installing chief rabbis as members of the Upper House of Parliament and against Antisemitism – in the 1890s, 1920s and 1930s, respectively – were led by the Congressionals. Pesth remained their stronghold: in 1880, its Neolog community numbered some 64,000 (as opposed to a few thousands of Orthodox in the city) out of 238,947 country-wide. In 1930, the congregation had 172,933 members, 59.2% of the Bureau's general membership. Tensions between the official, statewide leadership and the Budapest communal functionaries were sharp, as the latter virtually dominated Neolog politics. In 1932, after encountering strong resistance, the Pesth community president Samu Stern was elected Chairman of the Bureau, uniting both posts.[3]

In the territories ceded in 1920, the communal separation of Hungarian Jewry remained legally sanctioned. In Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia, the 29 Neolog and 31 Status Quo congregations united to form a single federation in 1926, named "Jeschurun" from 1928.[18][19] In Yugoslavia, the 70 Neolog communities constituted the majority of the Federation of Jewish Religious Congregations ("Савез јеврејских вероисповедних општина") founded in 1919, together with 38 Sephardi ones; the 12 Orthodox refused to join and formed a union of their own.[20] In Romania, the 23 Neolog communities and 7 of the 11 local Status Quo communities united to form the "Western Rite Union of Transylvania and Banat".[21] In 1922, the Neolog community of Rechnitz was the only one in Burgenland not to join the newly created Association of Autonomous Orthodox Congregations.[22][23]

During the Holocaust, most Hungarian Jews perished. Under the Communist Regime, all communal organizations were merged into the unified National Deputation of Hungarian Jews (MIOK). The Budapest Seminary remained the only rabbinic institute in the Eastern Bloc. The most prominent Neolog leader under Communism was its director, Rabbi Alexander Scheiber. With the emigration of virtually all Orthodox, the Neologs remained the vast majority.[24] After the fall of the Iron Curtain, communal independence was restored. In 1989, the Federation of Jewish Communities (MAZSIHISZ) was founded as a non-fractional body. It became de facto Neolog after the small Orthodox minority seceded in 1994. As of 2011, there were 42 synagogues affiliated with the movement operating in Hungary. Of 6,920 Jews who chose to donate part of their income to one of the fractions, 5,263 gave theirs to the Neolog.[25] While Conservative Judaism regards them as a fraternal, "non-Orthodox but halakhic" movement, the two are unaffiliated.[26]




  • Michael K. Silber. The Historical Experience of German Jewry and its Impact on Haskalah and Reform in Hungary. In Jacob Katz, ed., Toward Modernity: The European Jewish Model (New Brunswick and Oxford: Transaction Books, 1987), pp. 107–157.
  • Jacob Katz. ha-Ḳera' she-lo nitʼaḥah : perishat ha-Ortodoḳsim mi-kelal ha-ḳehilot be-Hungaryah uve-Germanyah. Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History (1995). ISBN 9789652270948. pp. 42–47.
  • Nethaniel Katzburg. "ההנהגה המרכזית של הקהילות בהונגריה, 1870—1939" [Central Authority in the Hungarian Jewish Community, 1870–1939] (in Hebrew). Historical Society of Israel: 1–12. JSTOR 23559943.
  • Michael R. Cohen. Schechter's Disciples: How Solomon Schechter's Students Created Conservative Judaism, 1902–1946. ProQuest (2008). ISBN 9780549517795. p. 78.
  • Katz, 51–57.
  • Raphael Patai. The Jews of Hungary : History, Culture, Psychology. Wayne State University Press (1996). ISBN 9780814325612. pp. 337, 359.
  • Gabriel Sivan. Neology. In: Adele Berlin. The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Oxford University Press, 2011. p. 533.
  • Anna Szalai. In the Land of Hagar: the Jews of Hungary, History, Society and Culture. Beth Hatefutsoth (2002). ISBN 9789650511579. pp. 108–110.
  • Michael K. Silber. Löw, Leopold. YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe.
  • David Philipson. The Reform Movement in Judaism. Macmillan, 1907. OCLC 173452. p. 396.
  • CCAR Yearbook 1911, p. 225.
  • Jacques Kornberg. Theodor Herzl: From Assimilation to Zionism. Indiana University Press (1993). ISBN 9780253112590. p. 14.
  • Michael Meyer. Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism. Wayne State University Press (1995). ISBN 9780814325551. See also hu:Neumann Ede.

Kinga Frojimovics, Géza Komoróczy. Jewish Budapest: Monuments, Rites, History. Central European University Press, 1999. ISBN 9789639116375. p. 268.


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