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Govt Recognises Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation as ‘Highest Category Church’

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.09.23.

The Orbán government has signed a comprehensive agreement with the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH), under which EMIH gains recognition as a religious community “in the highest category”, deputy PM Zsolt Semjén said on Sunday.

Semjén spoke at the inauguration ceremony of a new synagogue in Szentendre, north of Budapest, and said that the new status will ensure that EMIH receives the same state financing for educational, welfare or cultural services as central or local government agencies.

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

The agreement also ensures funding for the renovation and maintenance of Jewish shrines in places where there is no longer a Jewish community, Semjén added.

Rabbi Köves: Hungary Jews ‘safe, undisturbed’

Hungary’s Jewish community lives undisturbed and in safety, Slomó Köves, chief rabbi of the EMIH community, said at a commemoration in Budapest on Sunday.

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

“We are proud of our past and traditions, and think that in Hungary the Jewish community not only has a past but a present and a future, too,” Köves said at the ceremony held at central Budapest’s “Shoes on the Danube” monument to Holocaust victims.

In his address, Köves welcomed that his community celebrated the inauguration of two synagogues – in central Budapest and in Szentendre, north of the capital – and two Torah scrolls on the same day.

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

“Today is history,” Köves said. “The completion of the Torah and the writing of the last letters is always a joyful event, but here, in Budapest, it is an especially joyful celebration,” the rabbi added.

Photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI

The ceremony was attended by State Secretary János Fónagy and Chief Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weiss, representing Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Council and the state of Israel.

Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI