We got into Budapest today around 2:30 pm and were whisked off to the hotel to freshen up. Budapest is beautiful! The architecture is insane (pictures to come soon!). We walked to the Hungary JCC which is very different from any JCC I’ve ever seen. We joined a dancing class for adults with disabilities and at first I was apprehensive because we speak no Hungarian and they speak no English so how were we going to dance?! Thankfully a Hebrew song came on that everyone knew which instantly brought us together. It was amazing! We then learned about Szarvas, an international Jewish summer camp in Hungary with campers from 26 different countries an got to meet some camper alums who are training to be counselors. It was cool bonding with the kids about their summer camp experiences because many of us had similar experiences at Jewish sleep away camp. We also spoke to the director of the JCC who talked to us about the situation in Hungary for Jewish people. It was a bit shocking to hear that a political party that could potentially take over Hungary has an anti-Semitic and anti-gypsy platform. It just makes us aware that something needs to be done and awareness needs to be raised. We ended the night with a lovely Hungarian dinner and finally back to the hotel after a very long day!
- Hillary H.
After the cafe, we took a bus to the other side of Budapest, buda. We are staying on the pest side, so we crossed the bridge over the Danube River. Once on the Buda side, we went to the citadel overlooking the city for a beautiful view and picture spot of Buda, Pest, and the Danube. We also visited the castle in Buda where the kings used to live which was beautiful because we arrived at sunset. We came back to the hotel and had our first reflection session with the JDC staff and our Texas Hillel staff. We went to dinner and then sampled some of the Hungarian night life! Everyone’s having a great time!
-Risa M and Paul K
Greetings from Budapest!
Today has our first full day in the city and so far its been great. We started off the day visiting a nearby Jewish kindergarten. The kids were ADORABLE and so much fun! They sang us some Hungarian songs, and we returned the favor by teaching them a few songs in English. We also all sang a few songs in Hebrew. Its so amazing that even though we have such a language barrier with the kids we were all able to come together with the common bond of knowing the same Hebrew songs. Afterwards we spent some time playing with the kids during recess. We all had such a blast and weren’t ready to leave our new Hungarian buddies! After visiting the kindergarten we went on a tour of the Dohany Street Synagogue, which is the largest synagogue in Europe. Three different architects constructed it so there were many different styles within the one building. It was so interesting to be in such a beautiful temple and learn the history behind it. From there we explored the Jewish quarter of the city for a bit and stopped at a cute cafe for lunch. We spent the rest of the afternoon volunteering at a charity shop that the JDC was helping to expand. The group of us that helped paint the walls all wore white bodysuits to protect our clothes from the paint, which led to some great photo ops!
Currently we are all hanging out at a little coffee shop in the jewish quarter, Szoda Kavezo es Mulato, relaxing and awaiting our tour of the castles on the Buda side of the city. More updates to come later!
Szia (that’s goodbye in Hungarian!),