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March 8, 2013

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 8, 2013 % . By Debra Rubin New Jersey Jewish News When author Samuel G. Freedman's award-winning book "Jew vs. Jew: the Strug- gle for the Soul of American Jewry" came out in 2000, it showcased the divide between various factions of the com- munity, particularly between observant and liberal Jews. In the ensuing years, some of those clashes have been resolved, with segments of the Jewish commun!ty moving in some surprising directions. Freedman recently spoke at the Highland Park (N.J.) Conservative Temple-Congre- gation Anshe Emeth to "re- visit" his subject and a com- munity that, while in many ways more vibrant than ever, is confronted with challenges ranging from intermarriage, to the demands of Orthodox women for greater religious roles, to efforts to attract Jews in an age of "shul shopping." "Of all the books I have written, "Jew vs. Jew" is the one I have felt the desire to return to, to update orwrite an epilogue," said the Highland Park native and author of six books. Freedman said Jewish religious and cultural life has never been more "varied, exciting, and energetic," with innovative offerings in wor- ship styles, music and culture that were unimaginable gen- eratiofis ago. Yet, he said, "our accep- tance, embrace and literal love for this country" as well as its "love of us" has led to a large spike in intermarriage. Freedman said it remains to be seen whether" children of intermarriage will identify strongly with the Jewish com- munity or will regard it as a part of a larger, varied ethnic identity. Freedman, a columnist for The New York Times and a pro- fessor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journal- ism, said his bookwas penned By Cnaan Liphshiz BUDAPEST (J'TA)--Three years ago, Fanni moved to Vi- enna from her native Hungary with her husband. Now she is pregnant. Though the couple would prefer to raise their child near their Jewish families in Budapest, rising nationalism and an economic recession are leading them to stay inAustria. "I don't want to cut my roots, but I see no good fu- ture for a child growing up in an increasingly xenophobic environment," said Fanni, a lawyer, who along with others interviewed for this article asked that their full names not be published. As many as 1,000 Hungar- ian Jews are believed to be leaving the country each year, spurring fears among Jewish leaders about the future of Central Europe's largest Jew- ish community--some 80,000 to 100,000 people. Immigra- tion to Israel has tripled in the past three years, to 170 in 2012: And many others have sought new lives in Berlin, London and Vienna, the Aus- trian capital just a two-hour train ride away. "Had my law firm been hugely successful in Hungary, I would have stayed despite the negative atmosphere," Fanni said. "And if the atmosphere ) was good but business was slow, I would've also stayed. But now the negative aspects outweigh the positive." The migration is part of a wider movement of Hungar- ians, some 300,000 of whom have sought employment in Western Europe over the past four years, according to government estimates. They are leaving behind a stunted economy with a contract- 'ing gross domestic product, an annual inflation rate of more than 5 percent and an unemployment rate above 10 percent. But it also comes at a time of mounting anti-Semitism in Hungary, adevelopment epito- mized by the rise of Jobbik, a far-right political party that now occupies 47 of 386 seats in the Hungarian parliament. The party won 16.7 percent of the popular vote in the 2010 elections, a massive improve- ment over the 2.2 percent it claimed in 2006. Still, Hungarian Jewish leaders dispute that anti- Semitism is at the root of the emigration. Peter Feldmajer, president of the Mazsihisz Hungarian Jewish umbrella organiza- tion, told JTA that the Jewish percentage of Hungarian emigrants perfectly matches the Jewish percentage of the larger population. nspace Commercial, Office, Residential Complete L wn & Shrub Maint manr Ummsed bmured Professional/Reasonable/Free Estimate We ore your source for: -Invffalion8 Broohures Lefteft'eo~s En~o~x~ - Business Cards, Programs Flhlers Post Cards Forms Digital Photographu - Labels - Direct Moil 407.767.7110 www. elegantprinl~ag, net 205 North Street Longwood, FL 32750 i~Ae~q Tr 4~ Ad ar~rJ ~.~,e a~ 18% E;~TJJq~ Author Samuel Freedman US. Jew." "in the honeyed afterglow of Camp David, when peace seemed imminent." At the time, the Conserva- tive movement was embroiled in a controversy aboutwheth- er to include gender-neutral and egalitarian language in its prayers. Whilethat discus- sion has been mostly among Debra Rubin signs a copy of his book 'Jew Conservative Jews, feminism "has become a huge issue in the Orthodoxworld, especially the Modern Orthodox," said Freedman. That movement is "facing a day of reckoning" in regard to egalitarianism and the roles of women. Freedman cited the growth of Orthodox congregations that allow for inc.reased par- ticipation by women leaders during services. "They have now had several generation of women receiving top-notch [religious] educations and be- ing told that's as far as they can get," he said. Freedman said he was "attacked" when researching "Jew vs. Jew" for suggesting Orthodoxy would need to face the ordination of women rab- bis, He backed off the subjectl although he now believes he was on target. "It will happen" he sai& Not even mentioned ~n his book was th~ growing "post-denominational" trend among Jewish individuals and congregations. In increasing numbers, he said, American Jews already identify with multiple synagogues and minyans without regard to denomination. "We are now shul shop- pers," he said. "The era when Jgwish life was defined by which movement--Ortho- dox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist--you iden- tified with has come to an end for many of us." Freedman also termed it"a real oversight" that his book did not mention the "huge phenomenon" of outreach by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and its impact on non-Orthodox and non- affiliated Jews. "I should have seen it coming," acknowledged the author, who said that among the insular fervently Orthodox and hasidim, Chabad stands out for its willingness to interact with liberal Jews to engage them in Jewish life. "I can't help but think that that interaction has changed the Chabadniks as well," said Freedman. "Chabad is learn- ing as much about us as we are learning from them." Debra Rubin is the Middle- sex bureau chief of the New Jersey Jewish News, from which this article was re- printedby permission. "Jews are leaving due to the economy, not anti-Semitism," Feldmajer Said. "This worries me not only for Jews but the whole of Hungary." Other prominent Hungar- ian Jews, however, allow that anti-Semitism may play a role, if not the definitive one, in encouraging Jews to leave. "The Hungarian Jewish community is vibrant and strong, but many are leaving," said Zsuzsa Fritz, director of Budapest's BalintJewish Com- munity Center. "It's mostly because of the financial situ- ation, together with the fact thatthe climate is notvery nice for Jews if Judaism plays an important part in their lives." The Unified Hungarian Jew- ish Congregation, a Chabad- affiliated bbdy, said in state- ment that it "could not rule out that the increasingly anti-Semitic sentiment may" factor heavily in the minds of those who leave," though Jew- ishemigration from Hungary was "by no means massive." Massive or not, the emigra- tion has piqued the interest of Viennese Jewish leaders, who long have hoped that an influx of foreign Jews would revive the community's sag- ging numbers and enable it to sustain an extensive communal infrastructure of schools, synagogues and old- age homes. Oskar Deutsch, the presi- dent of the Jewish community of Vienna known locally as IKG-i--said last month that Hungarian anti- Semitismwas driving Jewish immigration to Vienna. The community has set up a program to help assirnTlate--and lure--the newcomers, including lan- guage courses, help in finding employment, housing and Jewish education. IKG is prepared to extend such help to 150 families annu- ally from different countries including Hungary. Deutsch's predecessor, Ariel Muzicant, told JTA in December that 20 Hungarian families were pre- paring to leave or had recently arrived in Vienna. "We believe, and our statis- tics show this, that our Jewish community will cease to exist if we do not have Jewish immi- gration in the coming years," Deutsch said. Cnaan Liphshiz Karl Pfeifer, a Viennese Jewish journalist who grew up in Budapest, outside the Jewish Museum in Vienna, Feb. 17. Bgla B:Molnfir Demonstrators protesting racism in Hungary in Budapest, December 2012. Deutsch declined further comment on the subject, possibly because of the con- sternation his statements caused across the border, where Hungarian Jewish leaders criticized him for "sowing panic" and giving "false" data. But in talks with about a dozen Hungarian immigrants to Austria, most cited professional reasons as the primary driver of their Jobbik has grown to become Hungary's third-largest party. The party drew international attentiofi in November when Matron Gyongyosi, a Jobbik lawmaker, said that lists of Hungarian Jews should be drawn up as they represented a "security risk." Jobbikwill likely remain out of the government coalition at least until the 2014 elections, but its growth has shaken the emigration, even if the anti- sense of security for many Semitic rhetoric increasingly common in Hungary is never far from their thoughts.- "In every election, my parents would say that if a party like Jobbik entered the government, we would pack our suitcases and go," said Ga- bor, a recent arrival to Vienna from Budapest. "The whole atmosphere is of things getting worse, not only for Jews. It can be a driving force for people to get the hell out." Founded a decade ago, Hungarian Jews and offers added encouragement to leave. "In planning my future and in terms of employment options, coming to Vienna made the most sense," Gabor said. "It's qery near. You can still see your family and friends on the weekends." Foryoung professionals like Gabor, Vienna offers a number of advantages over other places aside from the distance. For one, work permit require- ments were waived in 2011 between the two countries. But for some Hungarian Jews, the destination is less impor nt. One middle-aged woman from Budapest, who- spoke to JTA on condition of anonymity, is hoping to depart for Australia. "I would most definitely like to leave Hungary but still haven't heard from the authorities," she said. "I am impatiently waiting for an answer and am really hoping for a positive one." Such cases make Adam- Fischer, a Hungarian Jew- ish conductor who now lives in the United Kingdom and has studied in Vienna, an unequivocal supporter of the Viennacommunity's initiative to bring over Jews. "It's better if Jews immi- grate to Vienna," he said. "That way they stay nearby and the thread is notbroken. Plus, there's always a chance ofthem returning if things improve."