How would you introduce yourself?
I am a teacher who is passionately interested in teaching Judaism in a creative way as well as strengthening the identity of young Jews. I am also a community person who would like to build a colorful, active, and excitingly changing Jewish community in Hungary.
What does Jewish identity mean to you and what role does active participation in the Jewish community have in your life?
Basically, my life so far has been about answering this question.
What are the biggest challenges of the Hungarian Jewish community today?
The Hungarian Jewish community is a living, diverse something, yet it gets fragmented and it still lives in the shadow of the Holocaust in a certain way. The challenge is to retain the colors and the variety while we build collaboration where cooperation is emphasized instead of competition. Such cooperation would eventually lead to a self-sustaining, conscious, confident in its own Jewishness, excitingly novel community.
What kind of a Jewish community would you like to see in 18 years? What steps would be necessary in your opinion to have this vision realized?
A diverse, ready-to-cooperate, innovative community, which has a positive attitude towards its Jewishness, which always asks questions and is in constant dialogue about the world, about Judaism, about the past, present, and future.
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?
Today in Hungary the dialogue is not unsuccessful but nonexistent. Absolutely. There is screaming, miscommunication, and judging. There is no dialogue. There is no real dialogue within the community or among Jews and non-Jews. However, ‘we have to live with each other, not in each other and not next to each other.’
What are the biggest challenges of the Hungarian society today?
The Hungarian society must be able to step out of its own shadow. The question has to be changed in the following way: ‘What is the biggest challenge for the people who live in Hungary?’ In my opinion, it is taking responsibility. We have to become capable of taking responsibility for the world that surrounds us, locally and nationally, in the family and in the community. In order for this to happen, we have to process our historical traumas. This task will be more than enough for decades. If at all. Afterwards, it will be easier.
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?
This is obviously the task for the individuals. We cannot expect such an initiative from above to change everything. We need to start as individuals, as small communities to set examples that it is worth having a dialogue. Every individual and every community has a role in this as we cannot hermetically shut off the communities from one another, we live together and our fates are intertwined. I am impacted by the migrants and their fates even if they are on the other side of the wall because I am responsible for the fact that they are locked out. That is how our fates impact each other, regardless we are Jewish, Roma, Swabians, ancient Hungarians, or migrants. That is why the only way to solve our issues is through dialogue where the vocabulary is not exclusive but inclusive and accepting.
What does Israel mean to you and how do you look at Israel?
Israel is the place that contributed and still contributes to the strengthening of my Jewish identity; it is my second home, a spiritual center where the Jewish text is originally in Hebrew, where I naturally feel home from the very first moment, where I have friends, where the ancient magically mixes with the new, the oriental with the western, and where it is just so natural to be Jewish. I like Israel.
What matters do you speak out about and what matters do you support within and outside the community?
For me as a teacher, education is the most important, and as a community person, freedom and pluralism. I stand up every time a group is attacked or offended, when individuals claim opinions as their monopoly, when open discussions are killed, when there is no transparency.
I support new, exciting initiatives, the acceptance of diversity, the acceptance of acceptance, openness, and first and foremost everybody who is willing to work for the community, for progress, for the betterment of our future.