Improvising Community in Central Europe
Excerpted from “Jewish Europe Today. Between Memory and Everyday Life” edited by Marcelo Dimentstein and Ewa Tartakowsky. Copyright © 2020 by Austeria Publishing House. Reprinted by permission. (see book introduction post here.)
By Daniel Monterescu and Sára Zorándy
In 1939 there were ten million Jews in Europe. After Hitler there were four million. Today there are under two million. On current projections the Jews will become virtually extinct as a significant element in European society over the course of the twenty-first century. Bernard Wasserstein (Vanishing Diaspora, 1996)
We try to sneak Judaism into our programing, just to give them a taste and whet their appetite: a klezmer concert here, a Hanukkah candle lighting there. Adam Schoenberger (2017)1
Introduction: Endogenous revival, recovering identity in Budapest
Against a history of communal destruction and alongside demographic projections of assimilation, projects of revival have heralded the “rebirth” and “renaissance” of Jewish communities and Jewish culture throughout Europe and beyond.2 However, more than sixty years after the Holocaust and more than twenty-five years after the collapse of Europe’s Communist regimes, scholars remain essentially divided regarding the prospects of restoring active Jewish communities in Europe. While some bemoan the “vanishing Diaspora”3 others celebrate the great “promethean historical moment”4 of the Jewish awakening in Europe.5 How do the Jews who chose to remain in Europe after the Second World War and 1989 interpret these challenges and define themselves? Is Jewish consciousness, or “Jewishness,” perceived in ethnic, cultural, religious, national or universal terms? Are right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism pushing Jews to regroup or does fear result in communal disintegration? Can revival initiatives form a cosmopolitan European framework?
Between a projected fear of vanishing and a creative cultural drive, the conundrum of a persistent Jewish presence in post-Holocaust Europe poses a formidable task for the social sciences – one that directly engages the troubled relationship between Europe and its historical alter ego. To address this task we analyze the emergence in the 1990s and aughts of Jewish revival projects in Budapest, home to the largest surviving Jewish community in continental Europe after the Second World War. The “vanishing Diaspora,” we argue, has been repositioning itself vis-à-vis the Hungarian and European cultural projects in new ways that challenge and redefine national identity and the Jewish condition alike.
Defined here as the practices of transmission, social adaptation and cultural innovation of religion qua “discursive tradition,”6 the term Jewish revival should be first critically recognized as an emic normative concept, used often by political, cultural and religious actors. By contrast, as a sociological concept the term Jewish revival includes a loose assemblage of social movements and cultural initiatives, which make up a transnational field of social action framed as Jewish by its actors. Analytically therefore, it encompasses a broad range of institutional modalities and individual practices across continents and communities: from Chabad’s global tactics of integration into new religious spaces, to local community-based activities, through alternative cultural initiatives that we can term “Judaism à la Carte.”7
Focusing on the agentive dynamics of contemporary Hungarian Jewish initiatives in urban spaces, we follow the different strategies and practices by which Jewish NGOs, informal groups and individuals take the liberty to create and improvise new communal frameworks, which define ways of being Jewish. While the Orthodox institutions promote what they call “true Judaism” (e.g., Chabad), alternative cultural actors creatively define non-denominational religious modalities: secularized but not assimilated, liberal yet adhering to “tradition” as they see it. Calling to “re-invent tradition” initiatives such as judapest.org, Marom, Moishe House and various others are independent of Orthodox, Neologue or Reform movements, thus promoting a cultural project we identify as “life-style Judaism.”
While scholars of European Jewry argue for “a weakening of collective, communal claims on individual Jews and a concomitant trend towards individualism and making choices about which aspects of Jewish tradition to preserve in one’s own life,”8 we show how, beyond the narrow paradigm of individualism, new associative bonds and elective “tribes” emerge to answer the changing needs of Jews in Europe.9
Theoretically, in order to develop the appropriate conceptual vocabulary to describe these processes, the project bridges literatures in different disciplines such as urban anthropology, cultural sociology, European history, religious studies, improvisation and cultural creativity.10 Framed as a form of collective bricolage (understood as the pragmatic re-articulation of available resources in order to solve new problems),11 Jewish cultural improvisation is nevertheless bound by a discursive tradition and its rules of interpretation – albeit loosely defined.12 Moreover, as a patently urban phenomenon, the specific configuration of Jewish claim-making should be scrutinized as part of the neoliberal landscape of urban restructuring whereby “Jewish Quarters” are turning into spaces of consumption, touristic attractions and hotspots for gentrification.13
Post–socialist Jewish history: From strategic invisibility to ethnic consciousness
Modern Hungarian Jewish history displays recurrent attempts at integration and assimilation. Holocaust survivors (aka the first generation) were so successful at hiding their Jewish origins that often the second generation found out about being Jewish well into their grown-up lives.14 After 40 years of authoritarian rule and state-imposed anti-Semitism, the political transformations set in motion in 1989 heralded an unprecedented opening of a cultural field of expression hitherto inaccessible to Jews in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Thus in the transition’s aftermath, hundreds of NGOs and community organizations emerged in the region – often financed by American, Israeli and other international agencies. As walls and borders were removed in Europe, questions of collective and individual identity assumed new political meanings. The differences here between Western European Jews and post-socialist Jews are illuminating. While Jews in CEE were struggling to establish communal institutions and a viable sense of self, Jews in London and Stockholm – “postmodern Jews by choice”15 – engaged in a search for post-denominational religious distinction. However, we argue, while in the West the attempt to re-appropriate a Jewish culture that is not hierarchical remained marginal (with initiatives like Limmud and Moishe House), due to the objection of Orthodox centralized national institutions, in post-socialist cities the counter-cultural became more mainstream by virtue of communal fragmentation and thus served as a crucial force in reshaping the Jewishness of Budapest, Berlin and Krakow.
Transforming their “latent ethnicity” 16 to a legitimate and open identity strategy has been a difficult and tortuous process, which is yet to be fully acknowledged by Jews and non-Jews alike. Surveys show that approximately one-fifth of the Jews in CEE countries indicated that their Jewishness was concealed from them by their own Jewish family. This phenomenon was particularly common in Poland (36 percent) and in Hungary (29 percent).17 Thus while the reevaluation of Jewish heritage opened a much more public debate than was ever possible under communist censorship, one of the main differences between Eastern and Western Europe is that this public-ness cannot be taken for granted in the East. To this day many Jews are still ambivalent about exposing their Jewishness and identifying themselves as such for fear of unknown and grave repercussions. For this reason, after decades of communist oppression, which has been internalized by Jewish families, many second-generation Jews still avoid taking part in public Jewish life or do so very hesitantly. The stigma of being Jewish was gradually dismantled only by the third-generation Jews born in the 1970s and 1980s.
The change of political systems in 1989 heralded a national identity-finding period: from the esoteric to the nationalistic, everyone was redefining themselves. In the progress, many (re)discovered their Jewishness, while Mazsihisz (Magyarországi Zsidó Hitközségek Szövetsége, Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities) was slow to recognize the new needs of this growing group and was accordingly marginalized and delegitimized. In the 1990s and aughts, the growing demand for new institutions as well as social and communal venues was taken up by young urban “ethnic entrepreneurs”18 who were looking for what we term “models of revival” in Western Europe and the US. The transnational interaction and exchange of ideas and organizational models between activists from all walks of Jewish life was crucial for establishing both a local Jewish scene and a sense of European Jewishness – diasporic by choice, cosmopolitan yet endowed with a local grassroots agenda. Perhaps the best known among them is Marom, which attracted young urbanites with an interest in their Jewish heritage. Sensitive to the trends seeping in from Berlin, London or New York, these loosely knit communities are built on the concept of cool-and-happens-to-be-Jewish. Central among these initiatives are: Café Sirály, Budapest’s “non-official Jewish urban space” until it was forced to close in April 2013 and relocated to the new Aurora; and on a virtual plain Judapest.org (“a wholly home grown and grassroots online and offline community aiming to uncover the Stimulating, the Relevant and The Cool in the Hungarian Jewish Experience”).19 Judapest, it should be mentioned, was a name devised for Budapest at the end of the 19th century by anti-Semitic Vienna mayor Lueger, which was retaken around 2005 as Judapest.org, “an essential source for young Hungarian Jews (re)discovering their identity.”
For several years now, organizations such as Limmud (established in London) and Moishe House (established in the US) have also been active in Hungary. Financially speaking, Mazsihisz is still the organization that receives the bulk of the budget from the state and is thus accused of corruption. Chabad is a relatively new phenomenon on the scene: with a pragmatic, hands-on approach they reach some of those who are looking for an authentic religious definition of their Jewishness, but are depressed by the sleepy traditionalism of Neologue congregations. For now Chabad is financed independently of Mazsihisz, but the former has been successful in claiming some of the funds of the latter.
The Jewish revival in Budapest is often experienced through festivals and cultural events. Various Jewish cultural festivals (Bankitó, the Jewish Summer Festival, Jewish Gastro Festival, the Kazinczy Street Ball, Spinoza Jewish Festival, Pozsonyi Picnic, and Quarter6quarter7), as well as Jewish theaters, bars and restaurants owned or run and frequented by Jews, concerts and shows somehow relating to Jewish culture, Bálint Ház, the Israeli Cultural Institute, and two film festivals celebrating Israeli movies – are all part of a lively scene of Jewish culture, which is initiated by Hungarian Jews for a local audience. As elsewhere in Europe, “culture” becomes an easy gateway to Jewish heritage and identity. Commodified to some extent, the experience of Jewish culture through festivals forms a specific form of situational Judaism.
Generational analysis: The survivors, the denied, the emerging and the Jewish millennials
During ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2011–2014, we mostly encountered activists and participants aged between 25–45, generally called the “third and fourth generation” of Hungarian Jewry. In research on European Jewry, some use the generational divide described by sociologist András Kovács.20 We however prefer to think of the first generation as those having been born at the time of the Holocaust (the Survivors); the second generation as those born in the 1950s and 1960s (the Denied); the third generation born in the 1970s and 1980s (the Emerging); and the fourth generation born after the 1989 transition (the Jewlennials or Jewish Millennials). While Kovács’ divide goes back further in time, it does not help to explain vast differences between those born in 1967 or 1980. We feel their differences do not so much depend on how young they were after the Communist thaw, but rather on their proximity to the Holocaust.
The first generation of survivors denied their Jewish origins and submerged themselves in a new, Communist identity. Their children grew up not knowing their background and only heard some vague mentions of grandparents killed by “the Fascists” without any further analysis to the why and how. This second generation frequently only found out by the age of forty or so about their Jewish background and often sought to find this resurfacing identity via religion and tradition as adults. The fall of Communism brought a great identity-finding boom to all of Hungary: Buddhism, alternative massage therapies, Feng Shui, Protestantism, aromatherapy – all were embraced with a passion. The Denied began taking their children to Jewish school and Jewish summer camp. The third generation, the Emerging, often grew up knowing their Jewish background, learning its traditions and religion growing up among other Jews. At the same time, they still had a revolutionary role in transcending their parents’ discretion – of “keeping to oneself” and while honoring one’s Judaism, not to express it pronouncedly, outspokenly, visibly. A good example of the new attitude of openness and confidence is one of our interviewees, Ádám Schönberger, who bluntly expressed his indifference – as opposed to fear – towards anti-semites and neo-nazis: “I hate the Nazis, of course, but I would rather punch them than organize programs. They are very annoying people, and that’s it.” Another is Zsófia Eszter Simon, one of the first inhabitants of Moishe House Budapest, who felt the security lecture held by an Israeli at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (commonly known as Joint or JDC) offices was overly freaked out, until now we never had a problem, but of course sometimes I think there might be. What we are doing here, Marom, Sirály and Moishe House, is all about being open, so this risk comes with it. We’re not trying to close ourselves off, like this is just for Jews – quite the opposite, we’d like to do something together.
Personal trajectories of key actors in the revival scene
In the aughts, specific figures led the alternative revival movement in Budapest. They carved out new spaces of Jewish relevance. We identify three actors who made a difference by creatively re-appropriating Jewishness in the city. The biographies of the people behind three major initiatives – Moishe House, Judapest.org, and Sirály – attest to the incongruence between the existing institutional structure of Jewish life and the aspirations of younger generations. Each of these key actors employed the resources and networks they developed in Hungary and abroad. Sharing a constitutive experience outside Hungary (in Israel, the US and France) they brought home a positive Jewish experience and could introduce a different model of Jewish identity removed from the common self-victimizing attitude. Anna Bálint, a project and event coordinator, established Moishe House in Budapest; Bruno Bitter, a new media specialist, created a community for the online generation; and finally, Ádám Schönberger founded Sirály – the place to be for young urban Jews.
Bruno Bitter (1976) and Judapest.org
Bruno Bitter is a new media specialist and creator of judapest.org: “the wholly home grown and grassroots *online and offline community* aiming to uncover the Stimulating, the Relevant and The Cool in the Hungarian Jewish Experience. Since 5765.” When creating it in 2004, his main motivation was “to know if it is a personal thing or a phenomenon in my generation, or this situation.” Bruno remembers first encountering anything Jewish in a meaningful way when the family moved to the United States in 1987: “In New York we had many Jewish friends and these Jewish friends were different from the Jewish friends in Hungary as they had a lively, contemporary tradition of being Jewish.” He had been aware of being Jewish, but this information was context-less. Once at university, he spent a year in Jerusalem where he witnessed:
a very contemporary culture which is natural and has natural roots and not only in the Bible but in contemporary articulations of pop culture, that was very important and it was a huge contrast seeing the Jewish life in Hungary which is secret for most of the people, you don’t talk about it – you know, it’s a whispered term and for many people it’s a negative thing, not necessary because they are anti-Semitic but they think, it is a fragile thing, it is a vulnerability to be Jewish because of anti-Semitism, and because of the Holocaust and because of the perceived anti-anything.
As this was a very different experience than he had in his early teens and early twenties, once blogging took off abroad, Bruno decided to take it to the Hungarian scene: “I see Budapest as a place where lots of Jews live and they are very active and they are doing all sorts of subversive cultural things, so I will call them Judapest.”
When asked why he discontinued Judapest in 2009, he confessed:
Before I had a Jewish family I probably had to externalize my Jewish identity more, I had to prove it or show it to myself. And now having a Jewish son and a Jewish wife, I have nothing to prove, to myself at least. I think that most Jews have some identity problem. So they always need to reflect on it, they are in the Jewish conflict zone of their identity or many Jews feel that way, at least in Hungary. Once you feel that you are in the identity comfort zone you don’t need to do all these external celebrations.
Between 2004–2009, Bruno Bitter’s brainchild, judapest.org provided an online community for Jews on the search for identity. Its importance cannot be stressed enough as for many urban, internet-using, educated Hungarian Jews, it was the first time they witnessed a smart, cheerful Jewish identity propagated. Blogger “Tet,” Tamás Pásztor, brought out Zsidó-e vagy? [You a Jew?],21 which listed Jewish typicalities Pásztor felt would be recognizable by others. The post caused an avalanche of comments, where people freely added new typicalities and proudly shared their Jewish ways (15/18 and so on). To be able to chat and share freely on these oddities of growing up with various forms of hiding and resurfacing was a great source of comfort to many. A few examples from the original and from among the comments:
1.§ A Jew is he/she in whose identity this plays a role.
[…] III. He/she doesn’t confuse a micveh for a mikveh.
IV. Is very apt at noticing all Star of David necklaces, chai necklaces, menorahs, Jerusalem memorabilia AND is not an antisemite. […]
VIII. In the case of boys, the dilemma of to circumcise or not to circumcise was debated even in the Kádár era (independent of outcome). […]
XV. Is not religious, doesn’t keep kosher, but whenever possible, would rather skip the pork, is all full, thanks. […]
XVII. Is learning, used to learn or would like to learn Hebrew. […]
XXVI. Had to find out during university seminars and/ or at Christian friend’s visit that not everyone is used to interrupting each other and having loud discussions. […]
XXVIII. Holocaust movie -> tears […]
XXXII. Can “neither swallow nor spit out” own Jewry, thus just chews-n-chews.
Anna Bálint (b. 1983) and Moishe House
Anna starts off by invoking her constitutive experience as a young Jew in Budapest:
My story is at once very typical and very unique. All four of my grandparents’ families were touched by the Holocaust, and they stepped away from religion after that. Following the initial suppression, something awoke and got stirring in my parents, I was a small child by then and they sent me to Kazinczy Street’s Jewish kindergarten as early as 1989. That was a pretty big shock, of course, I almost learnt Hebrew earlier than Hungarian. Lauder school for the next twelve years was just a lengthy exit. There, one really gets to feel that horrible herd spirit. Maybe there are some positive values to feeling part of a group, but then for the group to identify itself in a way that is only negative when looking at it from the outside, that’s problematic. Although in the very beginning, at the dawn of the system change it was really a sense of liberation, a communal feeling: parents, kids, teachers, everyone was very happy the school had been founded.
Anna studied history of art in France, was one of the founding members of Moishe House Budapest and of the alternative prayer group Dor Chadash. Anna herself was raised in a secular family and her goal was to found an organization to popularize Jewish traditions, also for non-Jews: “I used to live a more intensive religious life, but had to realize my Jewishness has to come from elsewhere, from the inside.”22
Moishe House Budapest was established in September 2009. Marom activist Eszter Susán would have liked to create a “new communal space”23 after seeing the charm and success of Moishe House London. With Sirály-friends Zsófia Eszter Simon and Anna Bálint, the latter one of the founders of Dor Chadash, they applied for funding on the Moishe House website and were accepted. Moishe House in general seeks
dynamic young professional and/or graduate students who are passionate about community building and are between the ages of 22 and 30, to live together and create their ideal Jewish community. Residents host programs each month open to Jewish young adults and in return receive a generous rent subsidy, programing budget, educational resources and training.24
Anna Bálint remarks:
The most beautiful thing about Moishe House is to see the youngsters arriving on Friday evening, without any outside pressure, because of their own intentions. Some earlier, some later, some with wine, some without, some by bike, some by car, so as not to forget about the question of keeping the Sabbath. It’s good to see how a lot of people, who have either not found their place elsewhere or hadn’t even looked for it, because it never occurred to them, can be a part of this Friday evening community. They’re here, they sing, and feel good. This all has to do with the current Hungarian situation as people need a community especially now.
Less than five years after it was established, none of Moishe House’s original residents are there anymore. Eszter Susán “became too old,”25 Anna Bálint is living with her partner and child in a home of their own and Zsófia Eszter Simon preferred to move out once she graduated medical school. All three are still very much involved in Budapest’s Jewish community though. Responding to Wasserstein’s fears of a “vanishing diaspora,” Moishe House seems as the ultimate celebration of pluralism: out of the two dozen youngsters, so they say, a quarter has no Jewish roots at all, and half would not be considered Jewish according to the Israeli rabbinate.
Ádám Schönberger (1980) and Sirály
Ádám grew up with another sort of hidden identity. His parents are both Jewish, his father a neologue rabbi. His parents divorced when he was three years old and he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He went to a state-run public school and was not sure what his father did, as his family told him his father “is a priest, but not that kind of priest.” At the same time, they celebrated Christmas and whenever Ádám had to indicate his father’s job in documents, he wrote “priest.” After a few years at a regular state school, he continued in the Orthodox Wesselényi School, followed by some years at the Anne Frank Jewish School – today called Sándor Scheiber. Not too long after graduating high school, he made Aliyah with his then-girlfriend and returned to Hungary a few years later. Ever since, he has been one of the prime players in what has been called the Hungarian Jewish renaissance by some, by way of Marom, Sirály, Bánkitó Festival and Quarter6Quarter7.
Ádám describes his activities as being in the kitchen of Jewish identity:
We are trying to create this whole thing. We are in a kitchen, and can’t go to the shop. We have the flour that remains from 40–50 years ago, and we have the new type of flours, which are only barely related. So you have to combine the two: the old flour is good flour your grandmother and father used to make bread with; the new one, you don’t really know how that works although you’ve already eaten some new bread. Now if you combine them, you have to measure which one is supposed to be more and less. These kinds of breads are not one or the other, they are always something in between.
An era came to an end when Sirály’s location on Király utca 50 was forced to close in April 2013. For seven years, this pub, club, exposition space, café, theater spot and general hangout was the soul of urban Jewish Budapest. Increasingly intertwined with Marom, Sirály became the place many urban Jews went so as not to have to be Jewish. After September 2008 when neo-nazis arrived with buckets of faeces to avenge a supposedly “defamed great Hungarian playwright,” and actually beat two people, it turned out the community was not afraid: people continued to visit as if it had never happened – although at the time everyone was in shock. The Sirály people have since continued in Auróra in the disinvested 8th district.
Opening its doors in the then not quite gentrifying VIII. district of Budapest in 2014, Auróra also became the new home to Marom and Dor Hadash, as to a handful of other NGO’s.26 Embracing the principle tikkun olam beyond Jewish identity, it seems the former is by now a mere footnote to the community house’s activities. Helping Roma children get quality education, temporarily housing Syrian refugees during Hungary’s migrant crisis, or providing Hungary’s LGBTQ community with space, all of this is an integral part of the spirit of Auróra. Anyone is free to walk in, whether for a Purim celebration, a retro flea market, or a Bluesbreaker concert.
New Jews vs Mazsihisz
Whereas Mazsihisz is mostly considered simply out of touch while sitting on the budget, sometimes there are some actual conflicts between the new generation and the official community. In 2007, then President László Sólyom refused to sign into law a new decree on hate speech, considering it unconstitutional. Following this, Mazsihisz labeled him an anti-semite, and refused to attend the dinner the president was hosting for the heads of the different religious groups. The judapest. org online community had a lively discussion about Mazsihisz canceling27 and they eventually decided to send the president a box of kosher flodni, with a letter decrying Mazsihisz’s decision and explaining they did not feel it represented Hungary’s pluralistic Jews. The president appreciated the flodni, and actually ate it with the church leaders that did attend the lunch. Mazsihisz did not appreciate the gist and has apparently called judapest.org “worse than the Hungarian Guard.”
Perhaps less dramatic, but certainly indicative is Ádám Schönberger’s big Hanukkah celebration in the Bethlen Tér Synagogue in 2002. As his father is a rabbi too, he had the right contacts to approach the Bethlen Tér rabbi, yet he shocked the establishment by openly advertising the event on large posters out on the street. Many of the older generation were worried neo-nazis would appear. This first event attracted some 800 young Jews. Tensions ran high during the preparatory phase already though, as Ádám flatly refused to allow someone from the Mazsihisz offices to sing a song and did not even give Gusztáv Zoltai, the then-head of Mazishisz the chance to speak: “it was supposed to be a party, not a clapping congregation” he said. After breaking these unwritten rules, Ádám and his group were no longer welcome and Bethlen Tér synagogue never again hosted such event.28
Conclusions: Jewsy futures
The generational dynamics of Jewish revival in Budapest are striking. While the Survivors and the Denied coped with the embedded anti-semitism and forced secularism through what we can term “strategic invisibility,” the Emerging and Jewish millennials appropriated the general liberties in post-1989 Hungary to create their own mode of cultural distinction – assertive yet situational and flexible. Normalizing Jewish distinction in social and cultural – rather than political or religious – ways, these “Jewsy” (or Jewish style) strategies can be seen as a provocative form of improvisation, flirting with doctrinal modalities of Jewish tradition and the authenticity of “true Judaism.” The available sociological categories of conceptualizing these processes as individualization or secularization are limiting as these young urbanites leap across social fields and adapt existing repertoires to their needs.
Is there a Hungarian Jewish renaissance without Ádám Schönberger and independently of “foreign” funding such as Joint or the Rothschild Foundation? It seems that with the continued denormalization of Hungarian politics, the identity revolution of young Jewry continues its path. New agents are standing up from among the millenials: current university students are finding their voice in the urban Jewish landscape, creating a multi-layered open community at Auróra and in restored synagogues.
It is finally interesting to note the most relevant players: Ádám, Anna and Bruno, all spent formative years beyond the borders of Hungary in other cities with well-defined Jewish identities: Tel Aviv, Paris, New York. They returned to Budapest with what were, for the locals, very novel, cool concepts and models of action, which to them were a means to self-identify as who they are: hip, urban Jews. Today, any Hungarian student can go on an Erasmus scholarship anywhere in Europe, and urban Jewry under the age of forty usually speaks English relatively comfortably. Thus they can venture into the United States, backpack around the Far East, and visit Israel without the urge of making Aliyah. For many the blogosphere and the Jewish global village are key reference points: initiatives from London, like Moishe House, are easy to follow and then emulate, trends are intertwined, linked and circulating freely. Clearly benefiting from globalization and EU mobility schemes, the young Jewish urban middle-class challenges conservative structures as it looks for its place in a changing Europe.
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1 In: Cnaan Liphshiz, “In Budapest, Roma and Jews use alternative JCC to fight right-wing populism,” Jewish Telegrafic Agency, February 27th 2017, https://www. jta.org/2017/02/27/news-opinion/world/in-budapest-roma-and-jews-turn-alternative-jcc-into-anti-government-hub [access 28.05.2018].
2 Eitan Finkelstein, “Jewish Revival in the Baltics: Problems and perspectives,” Soviet Jewish Affairs, No. 20 (1), 1990, p. 3–13. Retrieved February 14th, 2013; Zvi Gitelman and Yaacov Ro’i (eds), Revolution, Repression, and Revival: The Soviet Jewish Experience, Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007; Sandra Teplinsky, Out of the Darkness: The Untold Story of Jewish Revival in the Former Soviet Union, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., HOIM Pub, 1998.
3 Bernard Wasserstein, Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews in Europe Since 1945, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1996.
4 Victor Karady, “Jewish Identity in Post-Communist East Central Europe,” Monitor ZSA, No. 6 (1–2), 2006, p. 92–105.
5 Ruth Ellen Gruber, Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2002; Zvi Gitelman, Barry Kosmin and András Kovács, New Jewish Identities: Contemporary Europe and Beyond, Budapest, Central European University Press, 2003.
6 Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam, Baltimore and London, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
7 Under this title, the recent Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) report analyzes three axes of Jewish identity (anti-Semitism, family environment and Jewish values) and draws on a statistical analysis of 13 components of Jewish identity from which individual Jews are selecting, within their respective social fields and positions (e.g., birth, family, culture, Shoah memory, Anti-Semitism, religion, values, nation). See: András Kovács, Barna Ildiko, Sergio DellaPergola and Barry Kosmin, Identity à la Carte: Research on Jewish Identities, Participation and Affiliation in Five Eastern European Countries, JDC, 2011.
8 Z. Gitelman, B. Kosmin and A. Kovács, New Jewish Identities…, op. cit., p. 3.
9 Herman Schmalenbach, Herman Schmalenbach on Society and Experience, Chicago, University Of Chicago Press, 1977; John Urry, Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for Twenty-First Century, New York, Routledge, 2000; Michel Maffesoli, Le Temps des Tribus: Le Declin de l’Individualisme dans les Societes de Masse, Paris, Méridiens Klincksieck, 1988.
10 Z. Gitelman and Y. Ro’i (eds), Revolution, Repression, and Revival…, op. cit.; Elizabeth Hallam and Tim Ingold, Creativity and Cultural Improvisation, Oxford, Berg Publishers, 2008; Julia Brauch, Anna Lipphardt and Alexandra Nocke (eds), Jewish Topographies, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2008; Smadar Lavie and Kirin Narayan, Creativity/Anthropology, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1993.
11 Anthropologist Lévi-Strauss defines bricolage as the process of creating something not as a matter of a calculated choice and use of whatever materials are technically best-adapted to a clearly predetermined purpose. Rather it involves a “dialogue with the materials and means of execution.” In such a dialogue, the materials, which are ready-to-hand may “suggest” adaptive courses of action, and the initial aim may be modified. Consequently, such acts of creation are not purely instrumental: “the bricoleur ‘speaks’ not only with things… but also through the medium of things.”
12 T. Asad, Genealogies of Religion…, op. cit.
13 R. E. Gruber, Virtually Jewish…, op. cit.
14 Ferenc Er?s, András Kovács, and Katalin Lévai, “Comment j’en suis arrivé à apprendre que je suis Juif?,” Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, No. 56, 1985, p. 62–68.
15 Lars Dencik, “‘Jewishness’ in Postmodernity: The Case of Sweden,” in: Zvi Gitelman, Barry Kosmin and Andras Kovács (eds), New Jewish Identities: Contemporary Europe and Beyond, Budapest, Central European University Press, 2003, p. 75–104.
16 Z. Gitelman, B. Kosmin and A. Kovács, New Jewish Identities…, op. cit.
17 A. Kovács, B. Ildiko, S. DellaPergola and B. Kosmin, Identity à la Carte…, op. cit.
18 Z. Gitelman, B. Kosmin and A. Kovács, New Jewish Identities…, op. cit.
19 http://judapest.blogspot.hu [access 28.05.2018].
20 According to András Kovács: “The members of the first generation were born before 1930, who were already adults at the time of the Shoah. The second generational group comprised those who were born between 1930 and 1944, whose life-forming experiences were made during the era of Stalinist Communism. To the third generational group belonged those who were born between 1945 and 1965, i.e. the generation that grew up under consolidated Communist rule and Kadarism. Finally, the fourth group comprised those born after 1966, whose most powerful experiences as a generation may have been the disintegration and collapse of the Communist system.” András Kovács, “Jews and Jewishness in Post-war Hungary,” Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History. Journal of Fondazione CDEC, No. 1, April 2010, URL: http://www.quest-cdecjournal.it/focus.php?issue=1&id=192 [access 28.05.2018].
21 http://www.judapest.org/zsido-e-vagy-2/ [access 16.05.2013].
22 Czene Gábor, “Kipa vagy baseballsapka?” [Kippah or baseball cap?], Népszabadság, October 2nd 2011.
23 Interview with Moishe House inhabitants by Sára Zorándy, “Családi Kép” [Family Picture], Múlt és Jöv?, No. 21, 2010/3, p. 121–129.
24 https:// www.moishehouse.org/ what-we-do/what-is-a-moishehouse/, “Apply to be a resident” [access 17.07.2014].
26 https://auroraonline.hu/ngos/?lang=en [access 28.05.2018].
27 See http://www.judapest.org/?p=1618 and http://www.judapest.org/?p= 1618#comments [access 15.05.2013].
28 Data partially from the article: Miklósi Gábor, “Alternatív zsidó mozgalmak: Önépítkezés” [Alternative Jewish movements: Selfconstruction], Magyar Narancs, No. 15, October 4th 2008, URL: http://m.magyarnarancs.hu/belpol/alternativ_ zsido_mozgalmak_-_onepitkezes-68595 [access 28.05.2018], partially from Monterescu/Zorandy interview with Ádám Schönberger.