Jewish holiday Hanukkah marked in Hungary

The celebration of Hanukkah — the Festival of Light — goes back to the Jewish retaking of the Temple of Jerusalem from the Greeks in 165 BC.

Marking the first day of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, Slomó Köves, the chief rabbi of the Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation (EMIH), said that waiting for a miracle is not the antidote to action, but a prerequisite. “If we work for a miracle, it will happen,” Köves said, lighting the first candle for the eight-day holiday in Budapest’s Nyugati Square. The Hungarian Jewish community knows that “the past 25-30 years are a real miracle,” Köves said. It is a miracle that Jews in Hungary can proudly practice their faith and it is the Jewish community itself that needed to make this happen, he added.

Balázs Fürjes, a state secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, wished the Jewish community a happy holiday on behalf of the government. He said the country’s Christian and Jewish communities “somewhere deep down are one”. Fürjes said he was convinced that there would come a moment “when we will be fully one”. But, he added, “we can already say today that there is a lot more that unites us than divides us.”