A Jewish cultural cavalcade in Budapest at the end of the summer can be a special occasion for everyone. Over the past years, every visitor could rightfully feel the event was his own, and I know this will be no different this year with the Jewish Cultural Festival hosted under its new name for the second consecutive time. This is when the Hungarian Jewish Community opens its gates, presents its customs and the colourful world of its traditions. Every year, excellent Jewish and non-Jewish men and women rally their forces to entertain those interested in Jewish culture with superb programs during the Jewish Cultural Festival.
Budapest is an inclusive city. Our festival demonstrates that the capital of Hungary is host to a diversity of cultures, welcoming its visitors from all parts of the world with friendship. The programs offered by the festival could best be compared to a bunch of colourful wild flowers. Fresh flowers that shine in a thousand shapes and colours, are beautiful on their own, and gorgeous in a bunch. Symbiosis is a widespread form of plant life. Symbiosis means two plants living together that is advantageous for both.
The symbiosis of the Hungarian and the Jewish cultures has brought about many an eternal value over the past centuries. “So the cock crows” – we hear at klezmer concerts and the song has become a treasure for all Hungarians. Its composer is Eisik Taub, the wonder rabbi of Nagykálló, born in 1751. Mariusz Rosenthal was born in Balassagyarmat in 1789. Today, he is known as Márk Rózsavölgyi. Few are aware that this Jewish man gave us the czardash and the first Hungarian farandole. He was a friend of the great poet, Sándor Petőfi. When the National Theatre was inaugurated, it was opened with the round dance Palotás composed by Rózsavölgyi. Ferenc Neumann was born in 1878. He wrote the world’s perhaps most beautiful youth novel, The Pál Street Boys in a crowded, music café. Of course, Ferenc Neumann is known by his pen name, Ferenc Molnár. The range of examples is virtually endless. They are all representatives of the co-existence of the Hungarian and Jewish cultures.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please welcome the events of the Jewish Cultural Festival 2016 with joy and with open heart. Enjoy its rich, colourful program and live in a symbiosis with it during the next few days. Those who come and visit the events of the festival can be sure of one thing: they will not leave empty handed. They will receive the mental-spiritual treasures rooted in thousands of years of tradition that can be of help to anyone in finding one’s a way around the complicated issues of life. The great venues, the Synagogues in Budapest and the Goldmark Hall will show you Budapest’s Jewish face.
Please come and explore this world!
András Heisler, President of the Hungarian Jewish Federation