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New synagogue planned for Budapest

(JTA) — The Jewish community of Budapest said it will build a new synagogue for the first time in 80 years.

The foundation stone for the new synagogue in Budapest’s Csepel district was scheduled to be laid Sunday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Senior government officials were expected to join Hungarian Jewish leaders at the ceremony. 

“It attests as to the vitality of the Jewish community,” read an announcement about the event on the website of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, or Mazsihisz — a body representing many of the organizations that belong to Hungary’s Jewish community of approximately 90,000.

The municipality donated the land for the synagogue, the federation said, and most of the construction costs were raised by the Jewish community of the Hungarian capital’s South Pest district, BZSH. Construction is expected to finish by November 2014.

Among those who are scheduled to officiate at the ceremony is Andras Kerenyi, the Jewish community’s president, who in October was physically assaulted by two men spewing anti-Semitic invective. Kerenyi followed the assailants after they fled, leading to their arrest.

“There are worrying trends in Hungary as represented by the anti-Semitic Jobbik party, but at the same time there is a vibrant Jewish community and much attentiveness to their needs and welfare on the part of many in government,” said Joel Rubinfeld, co-chair of the European Jewish Parliament, who returned last week to Belgium from a round of talks with Hungarian officials on curbing anti-Semitism there.

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