Hungarian Jews Get New Center with the Help of JDC Campaign

As the result of an initiative begun two years ago by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Hungarian Jews are soon to have a new community center here.

The building that will house the center, a pre-existing structure in downtown Budapest, is being renovated for specific use for community activities and is slated to open Sept. 1. It will accommodate Hungary’s Jewish community, which, at an estimated 100,000 members, is the largest in Central Europe.

Costs for the new JDC-sponsored center are being paid in part by a $300,000 grant from the London-based Central British Fund/ World Jewish Relief.

Also investing in the project are the Jerusalem-based Doron Foundation, which sponsors Jewish operations overseas, and members of the London-based Balint family, who are of Hungarian origin.

The JDC and Central British Fund will operate the center for the first two years and turn it over to the Hungarian Jewish community in 1996.

Mose Jahoda, director of the JDC offices in Hungary and Bulgaria, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it is important that Hungarian Jews have the same opportunities for full community life as any Jewish community anywhere.

The new community center will house a Shalom Club for Holocaust survivors, who number about 30,000 in Hungary.

The center will also house a social club, cultural center, library and a computerized educational system connected to all Hungarian Jewish schools.

The JDC sponsors a number of programs in Hungary, for which it has a $3 million budget. In addition to providing support to Holocaust survivors, the JDC provides financial assistance to elderly and poor Jews.

(Contributing to this report was JTA staff writer Mitchell Danow in New York.)

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