Dohany Synagogue

  • Issue: September 2000
  • Artist: Zina Roitman
  • Designer: Zvika Roitman
  • Stamp Size: 40 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 425
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

Jews have lived in what is known today as Hungary since the Roman era.
During the 11th Century, when the Arpad Dynasty laid the foundations of the Hungarian nation, Jews from Germany settled in Hungary, Bohemia and Moravia. Ever since, there were periods in which they found favor with the king and there were periods of persecution. At the end of the 18th Century, under the rule of Emperor Joseph the Second, the living conditions of the Jews of Hungary improved. In 1867 Jews were granted full emancipation. The numbers grew from a mere few thousand at the end of the 18th Century, to 200,000 by 1840. Hungarian Jewry made a significant contribution to the country's industrial, commercial, artistic and scientific development.

Palatial synagogues were established, such as that of the city Szeged, and
the synagogues of Budapest - the Rumbach Synagogue, and especially
the Dohany Synagogue which was established in 1859, and to which no synagogue compares in size and in splendor in all of Europe. This synagogue has a Moorish architectural design with twin towers. Its rededication in 1998,
following renovations, took place in the presence of the President of Hungary, Arpad Goncz, and former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir. The synagogue complex also houses a Judaica museum, rich in religious
artifacts, as well as another synagogue - "Hagiborim", a library, an archive, a square commemorating Righteous Gentiles and a tree shaped monument. The monument is designed with leaves bearing the name of each of the 600,000 Jews who perished in the Holocaust, over two thirds of Hungary's Jewish population. Theodor Herzl was born and educated in Hungary, as were  Max Nordauand Hannah Szenes. The synagogue is situated on the site where Herzl's house stood.

Today over 100,000 Jews live in Hungary, most of them in Budapest.  The Jewish community in Budapest runs three schools, from kindergarten to high school, as well as a Rabbinical College offering university level studies. Diplomatic relations between Israel and Hungary, which began in 1948, were severed in 1967. The two countries renewed their diplomatic relations in 1989. The relationship between the two countries is flourishing both in economic cooperation as well as in cultural ties and tourism. 300,000 Jews of Hungarian descent live in Israel today.

Joel Alon
Former Israeli Ambassador to Hungary

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The Dohany Synagogue, Budapest (Joint Issue Israel-Hungary)