How would you introduce yourself?
I was born into a traditionalist Jewish family, I grew up in the Hungarian Jewish community, I went to Wesselényi Jewish school, to Shomer (HaShomer HaTzair), to Szarvas (Szarvas International Jewish Summer Camp).
I graduated from Hebrew University in Jerusalem as an art historian, and then participated in a one-year program of Paideia in Stockholm. I work in informal Jewish education. I started writing the Bee Jewish books in 2007 and have published 12 books since then. They are all about Jewish traditions and identity for families with young children. I have been organizing educational programs at Frankel Synagogue since 2002 where I am the rebbetzin (Tamás Verő, the rabbi, is my husband). In the fall of 2015, I founded BBYO youth organization.
What does Jewish identity mean to you and what role does active participation in the Jewish community have in your life?
Judaism has always been and always will be around in every area of my life. It has a central role in my private and my professional life. There are times when it is strange that my religion and my work are the same.
What are the biggest challenges of the Hungarian Jewish community today?
I think it has been the same challenge for the Jewish communities for the past 5000 years, namely how to lay the foundation for the following generation to survive as Jewish. The only thing that has changed is the tool with which they tried to handle the current challenges. Education, the building of synagogues, escape, migration, battle, or the creation of new religious movements.
What kind of Jewish community would you like to see in 18 years? What steps would be necessary in your opinion to have this vision realized?
If in 18 years we have the same kind of active Jewish community life in Hungary like today, we shall be OK.
What do you think about the coexistence between Jews and non-Jews in Hungary? How successful do you consider the dialogue between Jews and non-Jews?
If we have to formally ‘organize’ dialogues among a country’s citizens, it is already a bad situation. Real dialogues take place in the street, in apartment buildings in the everyday life. If this works, if people are able to respect each other and have normal conversations with one another in this setting, then coexistence works. I’m sure this can happen.
What are the biggest challenges of the Hungarian society today?
In order to overcome these challenges, what do you think is the role of each individual, and what is the role of the Jewish and the non-Jewish communities?
What does Israel mean to you and how do you look at Israel?
I consider Israel a family member. It is a very important part of my life, I love it unconditionally but I can also hate it. I support it with all its good and bad features.
What matters do you speak out about and what matters do you support within and outside the community?
In Frankel Synagogue we work for a lot of good causes. My main goal is to introduce the positive values of Judaism to Jews and non-Jews.