Is Brooklyn the biggest Hungarian “city” after Budapest? – VIDEOS

Over 100,000 ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jews live in Brooklyn, New York. Most of them have Hungarian ancestors, who were forced to live in their birthplace during the dark ages of the 20th century. In the “New World” they rebuilt their community but have not forgotten where they came from. Therefore, one can meet many Hungarian inscriptions in Brooklyn. Offbeat Budapest brought these together in a full article recently.

The ancestors came from Budapest and other Hungarian cities to Brooklyn

According to the news site, “around South 9th Street, a surprisingly different world emerges; no more designer boutiques, stylish hipsters and luxury skyscrapers. Instead, an isolated world of ultra-Orthodox Jews emerges.

People wear their traditional clothes. The men have hats, long beards, side curls, and black coats from which hang the white fringes of their prayer shawls. Meanwhile, women in wigs wear long black skirts “navigate the streets with strollers and stray children.” Everything is kosher. Restaurants and grocery stores have Yiddish inscriptions making this part of Brooklyn a surreal experience for every visitor.

Most of the people who live there are from Hungary, so it’s not hard to find someone who speaks Hungarian.

Hasidic Judaism, an ultra-Orthodox branch of Orthodox Judaism, was popular in the northeastern Kingdom of Hungary in the 19th century. This territory now belongs to Ukraine and is called Transcarpathia. Yet more than 120,000 Hungarians live there, but hardly any Hungarian Jews.

Unlike the Jews living in the cities and in Budapest, the Hasidic Jews did not want to assimilate. They “stuck to ancient traditions and formed great hereditary dynasties (or sects) under the strict leadership of a great revered rebbe. After the Holocaust, when nearly all were killed, the survivors fled Hungary and

rebuilt their communities from the ashes in the new Israel and the United States ”– Quirky Budapest wrote.

Synagogues named after Hungarian cities

Today, more than 150,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews live in Brooklyn and have Hungarian ancestors. The largest dynasty is Satmar, named after the Hungarian city Szatmárnémeti. It is now in Romania, but half of its population still speaks Hungarian. Satmar Meat is also a chain of kosher butchers with locations in Williamsburg and Borough Park.

Other major Hungarian Hasidic groups in Brooklyn include the Munkatch (Munkács), Popa (Pápa), Klausenburg (Kolozsvár) dynasties, as well as smaller ones, such as those of Kaliv (Nagykálló), Kerestir (Bodrogkeresztúr) and Liska (Olaszliszka) . Yosef Rapaport, a respected community leader from Borough Park, said most Orthodox Jews living in Brooklyn speak Yiddish with a Hungarian accent.

Here’s a video of the streets of New York’s Hasidic Jewish Quarter:

Interestingly, Hasidism is not uniform. For example, Hungarian Hasidim are hospitable, and coffee is well stocked and free in a Hungarian synagogue. “Marrying a Hungarian is almost like earning extra points” – Alexander Rapaport, son of Yosef and owner of Masbia, a not-for-profit soup kitchen network.

Borough Park, a district in the southwest of the Brooklyn borough, has 300 small synagogues named after places in Hungary like Sopron, Debrecen or Mád.

A Hungarian song that every Hasidic child in America learns

Not everyone fled Hungary because of World War II. Some came after the Soviets crushed the 1956 revolution. One of them was Menashe Gottlieb’s grandfather, Zoltán. Menashe runs a restaurant

offering traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash, stuffed cabbage, cabbage noodles (káposztás tészta) or paprika potatoes (paprikás krumpli).

Unfortunately, the Hungarian language is slowly disappearing since the older generation died out and their grandchildren spoke only a few words. However, they still know folk songs like “Szól a kakas már”, which is the national anthem of Hungarian Hasidic Jews. “It’s a song of nostalgia for Jerusalem, a song with a lot of emotional power” – said Yosef Rapaport. As a result, almost all Hasidic children in America learn it.

According to locals, Hasidic Jews regularly visit the towns and villages they come from in Hungary. “The name of the city is much more important to us than anyone in Hungary thinks.

It’s an alternate universe ”-

Yosef pointed out.

You can learn more about the daily life of Hasidic Jews or how they celebrate the Sabbath in the Offbeat Budapest article HERE.

Read alsoKatalin Karikó’s team is elected Hero of the year by TIME

Source:, Daily News Hungary

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