BET ORIM REFORM JEWISH CONGREGATION
Bet Orim Congregation, Budapest, one of the two Jewish reform communities in Hungary, was initially established and registered as an association in 2006. Today Bet Orim operates as a congregation registered by the Hungarian Court and serves more than 150 families. The congregation is a full member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Bet Orim offers an American style pluralistic and egalitarian experience for Hungarian Jews.
Our Founding Rabbi, Ferenc Raj, PhD (Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth El, Berkeley, CA) took an early retirement from his American congregation in the summer of 2007 and since then he has been with us for all the major Jewish holidays. He spends two periods of approximately 3-4 months each in Hungary leading our congregation. He supports our activities by developing engaging and inspiring liturgy, meaningful educational projects for all age groups, community building events and leadership training, and by performing life cycle ceremonies. Since Rabbi Raj is fluent in both Hungarian and English, he is able to reach out to Budapest's English speaking Jews who otherwise might be lost in a Hungarian synagogue.
One of our learned members leads services and workshops during the absence of our Rabbi. Thus, Bet Orim holds Shabbat and Holiday services year round.
The lay leaders of our congregation are skilled in managing non-profit organizations and have made a deep commitment to the development of a vibrant and inclusive Reform Jewish community.
Bet Orim maintains the "Agora Academy", a Progressive Jewish Open University, Bet Orim Film Club, and Torah-Circle with Rabbi Tamas Raj, as well as some secular programs.
The members and leaders of Bet Orim believe that this Jewish Reform congregation has the potential to grow, and to educate and meet the needs of the many unaffiliated Jews living in the greater Budapest area.
Membership fees and local, foreign and private contributions help support the activities of the community. Bet Orim also has applied for grants for several projects from the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary, and the Jewish Heritage of Hungary Public Endowment. The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is also a significant supporter of Bet Orim through its contributions that help offset our expenditures concerning the stay of our rabbi in Budapest.
Many of the programs of our community have been held in the Balint Jewish Community Center since the founding of Bet Orim. Currently, Bet Orim is in the process of seeking a suitable location as a permanent home for our congregation.
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