BUDAPEST (Sep. 20)
A check for $80,000 to repair the Martyrs Temple here was presented to leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community last week by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
The Foundation is an interfaith group that seeks to promote religious freedom around the world. The gift was made possible, Schneier said, “by the generosity of Ronald Lauder, U.S. Ambassador to Austria and an associate of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.”
Hungarian government officials led by Imre Miklos, head of the Hungarian Church Office — a post equivalent to that of Minister of Religion–took part in the ceremony at which the Appeal of Conscience gift was accepted by Jewish community leaders.
At a reception given by Miklos in Schneier’s honor, the Hungarian official announced that the government would make a matching grant to renovate the synagogue, Miklos told the reception that his government “values and appreciates” the 20-year relationship between the Foundation and all religious groups in Hungary.
The Martyrs Temple was built in 1919 on the grounds of the giant Dohany Synagogue as a memorial to the 10,000 Hungarian Jewish soldiers killed in action during World War I. It seats some 350 worshippers and is used by the Budapest Jewish community during the fall and winter months because it is easier to heat than the Dohany Synagogue, the largest Jewish house of worship in Europe.
The Martyrs Temple was rededicated after World War II as a memorial to the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis and Hungarian fascist collaborators.
Lauder told the reception: “My family and I have been blessed, and I believe it is only right to contribute to this worthy cause as a measure of gratitude and of the responsibility we bear for one another.”
Lauder, who is Jewish, who is Jewish, told his hosts that his grandparents had come to the United States from Satoral jaujhely, a town in Hungary, 90 years ago. The Appeal of Conscience gift was accepted by Dr. Andras Losonci, president of the Hungarian Jewish community.