by Dan Lavie and Israel Hayom Staff
Local Jewish leader: Seeing hundreds of people celebrating this event 70 years after the Holocaust, I can hear the footsteps of Israel's redemption.
Ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, an ancient Hungarian synagogue confiscated from the Jews following a pogrom in 1686 has been rededicated at a ceremony attended by Hungarian President Janos Ader.
The two-room Sephardic synagogue, known as the medieval Jewish prayer house, was built in 1364. Situated inside the Buda Castle, the synagogue was converted into residential housing and was all but forgotten until the 1960s, when renovators discovered Jewish markings on the ceilings of the rooms. Following the discovery, the rooms were opened to the public as a museum.
Speaking at the ceremony, Unified Hungarian Jewish Congregation executive Rabbi Shlomo Koves said, "Seeing this place 70 years after the Holocaust, seeing hundreds of people celebrating this special event in the Buda Castle with their heads held high, in the presence of the honorable president, I can hear the footsteps of Israel's final redemption."
He said it took years of negotiations with multiple bodies to reach a deal to allow a Jewish congregation to pray at the ancient synagogue.
Budapest-born Asher Faith, who will serve as the synagogue's rabbi, said that "we opened up an old synagogue in extraordinary circumstances, and we're looking forward to good things.
"We'll once again blow the shofar here this Rosh Hashanah, and maybe, in this merit, we will see the Messiah."
The Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities expressed hope that the opening of the synagogue would bring new energy to Jewish life in the Central European country and help contend with problems facing the local Jewish community, such as emigration, assimilation, intermarriage and a growing sense of detachment from Israel among the younger generation.
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