Filed under: arts/culture, religion | Tags: Budapest, Herzl, Hungary, Israelis, posted by aklionsky, Synagogue, Theodore Herzl
I recently returned from a 10 day exchange trip with my (public) high school to Hungary. A few months ago I’d read that Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, was born in Budapest, Hungary and that next to where he was born stands the Dohany Utca Synagogue (The Great Synagogue). I knew that, however difficult it might be to get a group of non-Jewish, public school students to see this, I was going to make it happen: there was no way I was going to be so close to where Herzl was born without seeing it.
We walked over to the synagogue, and everyone was in awe. The Synagogue itself is beautiful. It was built in the 1850s and seats 6000 people–it has two levels of balconies for women. The shul also owns 28 Torah scrolls.
The actual apartment where Herzl was born is no longer standing, but there is a plaque–with writing in Hungarian, Hebrew, and English–on an outside pillar of the shul that says “Here was the house where Theodore Herzl was born.”
It was such an amazing feeling to be where Herzl was born, and speaking with the Israelis that I met walking around the shul just goes to show that the Jewish community really is connected around the world.
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