Our editor-in chief, Gábor T. Szántó writes about the last ten years of “Szombat”. In his essay “No man’s land” he discusses the need for an independent representation of Jewish values and political interest and he examines to what extent this has been successful.
A year ago we sent our readers a questionnaire of which 195 have been filled in and sent back. János Gadó assessed them and found that 75% of our readers have finished university and are well informed and read a lot, and that half of them are older than 60 years. More than 90% of them votes for left wing and liberal parties. Out of the 195 readers filling in the form 16 claimed to be non-Jewish. 90% of our Jewish readers visit Jewish events more or less frequently and keep some of the traditions (it can be fasting on Yom Kippur or having a Jewish burial ceremony in the family).
Viktória Lugosi writes about the medieval way of thinking of the Taliban in Afganisthan and about the importance of keeping the calmness of everyday life amidst the tensions across the world following the terrorist attacks in New York.
In our section “World” we publish reports about Berlin, Vienna, Prague and Bratislava. You can read about the opening of the new Jewish museum in Berlin.
In our section “Under pressure” publishing documents from before 1989, this time we have selected a trial from 1968. Since the “people’s democracy” forbade all ways of Jewish existence except religious services, dedicated rabbis and lay members of the community tried to somehow get young Jews together through the means of religious and cultural lectures. The authority did not approve of these groups and sued the organizers who were given a suspended sentence. One of the people prosecuted was Tamás Raj, a rabbi in Szeged at the time. In this issue of Szombat we publish parts of his interrogation records.
In our section “Spirit” an excerpt from Moshe Idel’s “Modern Reverberations of Messianic Mysticism” is printed.
Péter Halász is one of the most provocative Hungarian stage directors. Eszter Götz examines in a study whether Jewish elements can be discovered in Halász’s works despite the fact that he practically never handles Jewish topics. Péter Halász started from Egyetemi Színpad (he University Theatre), then continued his work in the “Room Theatre “ in Dohány street, then emigrated and did the Squat and Love Theatre in New York.
János Hoffmann was a well-to-do citizen of a small Hungarian town, Szombathely. He kept a diary from 1940-1944 to the day he was carried off. His diary reflects the disappointment and loss of hope of Hungarian Jews who lived as Hungarians keeping Jewish traditions, at the time of the anti-Jewish legislation and escalating anti-Semitism. The manuscript was discovered recently and was published by the town of Szombathely. The book is presented here by Sándor Feldmájer.