BUDAPEST (May. 1)
For the first time in more than 60 years, a Jewish prayer book has been published in the Hungarian language.
The Siddur, printed in Hebrew as well as Hungarian, was given an initial press run of 10,000 copies by the Lubavitch Jewish Heritage Center.
The Siddur was published at a cost of about $40,000, part of which was donated by Hungarian Jews living in Israel and the United States.
The new prayer book, which also includes brief explanations of the liturgy, was essential to the vitality of the Hungarian Jewish community, said Rabbi Baruch Oberlander, the Lubavitch representative in Budapest.
He said the previous Siddur — published in 1934 — contained language that was obscure to most of today’s Hungarian Jews, who number between 80,000 and 100,000.
The prayer book, which will be made available in bookstores and in school libraries, will be an essential part of maintaining Jewish identity throughout the country, Oberlander said.
Oberlander, whose parents were Hungarian Holocaust survivors and who teaches Jewish law at Budapest University, has been in Budapest since 1989 as part of a Lubavitch effort to increase the community’s awareness of its Jewish roots.
To that end, the Lubavitch movement established the Jewish Heritage Center and a kindergarten, and also publishes a monthly newsletter with a circulation of 14,000.