Budapest will wait until after Passover to close Jewish center

(JTA) – Budapest authorities agreed to wait until after Passover to close down an alternative Jewish culture center.

The Siraly Jewish culture center will be shut down on April 3, Budapest Mayor Istvan Tarlos told Hungary’s MTI news agency on Sunday.

Marom, the Conservative Jewish youth group that runs the center, will now be able to host its Passover seder and a weeklong Passover Jewish culture festival there.

The leaders of Hungary’s umbrella Jewish organization Mazsihisz wrote to Tarlos on Saturday urging that the eviction order be delayed until April 3, so that Passover observances, including Marom’s community seder, could go on.

A city security service entered Siraly last Friday and attempted to evacuate the venue, which includes a cafe and activity hall as well as offices. Several dozen young Siraly members and supporters, however, entered through the back door and refused to leave.

Siraly, which means seagull, opened in 2006, squatting rent-free in the building. It was shut down by district authorities last May after years of wrangling over its legal status but reopened in January as Marom’s club.

The latest closure came after city authorities said Marom was carrying out unauthorized commercial activity on the premises.

Marom supporters said Sunday that preparations were under way for the seder and that dozens of guests were expected. They said the Quarter6Quarter7 Jewish culture festival held annually during Passover also would go on as planned.

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