The Jewish Revival in Budapest, By Nancy Schecter Schwartz
The Fort Worth community welcomed Hedi Puszati and Marton Todai from Budapest, one of our Partnership2Gether cities. Their 3-day visit was an immersive experience in Fort Worth local and Jewish culture, and included an informative dialogue with our community sharing the Jewish revival in Budapest. Avital Ben Dror also joined our visitors, representing the Western Galilee, our Israeli Partnership region.
Their visit began with a luncheon at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, where we met with representatives of Fort Worth Sister Cities International. The city of Fort Worth has been a partner city with Budapest since 1990. Hedi and Marton were able to discuss their leadership and involvement in the Jewish movement in Budapest. Following lunch, Kim Goldberg toured our guests through the art exhibits. Friday evening concluded with Shabbat dinner hosted by Stephanie Zavala and our Chaverim young adult group. A key goal of Hedi and Marton’s US trip is to foster relationships with young adults across the Partnership cities and encourage participation in the Building Bridges program.
After a relaxing Shabbat morning, we continued their cultural journey with a stop at the Amon Carter Museum of American to view a photography exhibit, In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar. Moreover, no visit is complete without seeing the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, crowded with ranchers and horsemen in town for the Rodeo. We then headed to northern Tarrant County to Congregation Beth Israel’s fifth annual casino night, a fundraiser supporting Jewish Family Services and other local charities. They had a great time at the gaming tables and silent auction.
On Sunday morning our community enjoyed the Annual Campaign event Brunch & Budapest to learn from Hedi, Marton and Megan Mauer (P2G Budapest Task Force Chair). The event focused on what it’s like to be Jewish in Budapest today, particularly from the point of view of these two young community leaders. They shared intimate and personal stories about discovering their Judaism in what is now the largest postwar Jewish population in Central Europe after suffering through two generations of 'missed memory' because of Nazis and communism. They also spoke of how their generation is now taking on the responsibility of bringing a Jewish life back to not only their community but also teaching their parents and in some cases grandparents what it means to be Jewish. This special 2018 Annual Campaign event illustrated why the freedoms we have to be Jewish in America cannot be taken for granted.