Jewish Political and Cultural Magazine
SZOMBAT („Shabbat”) is a Jewish political and cultural magazine. After the first issue came out in November 1989, it has been published without interruption, ten times a year. When starting the magazine, the editors decided to deal with all facets of Jewish life, presenting all trends of Jewry to the Hungarian Jewish community that had lived in isolation, being separated from the main centers of Jewish life.
Right from the beginning, the editorial board of SZOMBAT has had the aim to dissipate the lack of information, which can be seen everywhere: the wider Hungarian public does not know the Jewish community, its opinions are often shackled by ancient fallacies, once dormant, but “resurrected” by an anti-Semitism reborn after 1990. This is the reason why our magazine is also meant for the wider Hungarian public. We not only try to present the Jewish community living in this country, but also show how individual events in Hungary and the world are being seen with local Jewish eyes.
At the same time, we make continuous efforts to describe the developments in the Jewish world to the Jews living in Hungary – who often look at these with suspicion –, to publish various points of view and to make room for disputes. Our objective is to become an information center, allowing both the members of the community and the outsiders to get acquainted with wildly differing views and opinions that arise in the subject.
Our magazine, publishes two or three supplements every year, trying to deal with certain subjects in depth. The titles of such supplements were, among others: Jewish communities in Central Europe; The past decade of Hungarian Jewish education; Women, Jews, feminists; Fifty years of Israel; Jewish literature in Central-Eastern Europe; Jewish publications in Hungary; Jews and communism; Jews and conservativism; Hungarian Jewish sport history, Hungarian Jewish identity.
In order to fulfill the manifold tasks outlined above, SZOMBAT from time to time oversteps the narrow borders of a magazine, and ventures into other areas like the organization of symposiums or sociological research work, or the publication of its own books. For example, we published a volume, both in Hungarian and German, on our 1996 series of scientific lectures titled The forms of existence of Hungarian Jewish literature. In 1998, we organized a three-day conference with the title Jewish destinies in Hungarian films, where movies were performed and lectures were held, the content of which was summarized in a book titled Minarik, Sonnenschein and the others…. Using the same method a year later we organized a symposium on the history of Hungarian theater. We also published a special issue titled Young Hungarian writers on Jewry, and organized an evening debate in the Hall of Arts, one of the greatest exhibition halls in Budapest in 2001 and a conference on New Anti-Semitism in 2006, the presentations of which have been published in a separate volume.
Our magazine has also conducted several sociological surveys. The first research work dealt with Jewish schools. Within the framework of further research work conducted by SZOMBAT, the one decade long history of the largest domestic alternative Jewish organization, the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association was examined. Our third sociological work focused on the later career of the graduates of Jewish schools: how can they „use” the skills and knowledge they have acquired, what is their relationship as young adults to Jewish tradition and the Jewish community.
Szombat also conducted a research on anti-Semitic public discourse in Hungary between 1998 and 2006. The result of the research – a complex study – was published both the printed and electronic version. We had a project consisted of a continuing monitoring of Hungarian media, political life and public speech, as well as commenting on anti-Semitic hate-speech Holocaust-relativism, anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist publications. Monitoring took place both on pages of Szombat, and on the website: www.antiszemitizmus.hu
We also organize educational course on Jewish literature: in-depth analyses of texts by Jewish authors in the form of a series of seminars on different topics (Open University), where we invite poets or writers to read from their works.
So far, three issues of SZOMBAT have been published in English, thus allowing its many readers in western Europe and the United States to have an outlook on Hungarian and central European Jewry.
The issues of SZOMBAT can also be read on the Internet, on the homepage titled www.szombat.org.
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Our address: 1065 Budapest, Révay u. 16. Telefon: 00 36 1 311 6665
Account number: IBAN: HU45 1170 9002 2006 6703 0000 0000 SWIFT CODE: OTPVHUHB