Our Shabbat in Budapest was one we’ll not soon forget. We arrived at the Keren Or Chabad Center and (some of us) were delighted to discover it was for Israelis and the entire service was conducted in Hebrew. The Rav spoke so beautifully, weaving in the story of the Parsha Chayei Sarah, with the recent death of his own mother. The meal was very loud but very lively, plenty of singing and schmoozing, often at the same time. At the end of benching a few eyebrows were raised when the Beth Sholom contingent sang the Tessler’s theme song “Na’ar Hayiti” as many in our group were women….
Shabbat morning held different options depending on the trip participants, some went back to Keren Or, some to the Kazinsky shul, and some went for long walks. We all met up in front of the Dohany Synagogue and were warmly greeted by Rabbi and Mrs. Frolich who had been in Potomac for the Shoah Shabbaton a few years before. The food was in a word “heimish” – delicious chulent, thick slabs of kishka, brisket, and plenty more options.
There were a number of people who wanted to speak or sing for us, and Rabbi Frolich asked Rabbi Tessler to also share a few words of Torah, which he did beautifully. We had a special guest appearance by Andre Goodfriend, the U.S. Embassy Charge D’Affairs, who’d met with us the day before. He also spoke and got up to dance with us as well!
We were fortunate enough to hear from Professor Michael Miller, from the Central European University, Associate Professor in the Nationalism Studies Program. He gave us an enlightening overview of the Jewish community in Budapest and the question & answer period that followed was marvelous.