The Day of the Hungarian Science

Series of Scientific Conferences
at the
Jewish Theological Seminary- University of Jewish Studies

Year to year the Hungarian scientific life has been mobilized by the Day of the Hungarian Science, ever since the national academic and research institutions decided to commemorate the generous gesture of the Hungarian Aristocrat, Count István Széchenyi, i.e. the establishing the Hungarian Academy of Science.

This year the Jewish Theological Seminary - University of Jewish Studies greeted this special event of the Hungarian scientific life with three scientific sessions and even with a music program.

Mourning and remembrance was the subject of the first session on November 17, organized by the Department of Pedagogy and Social Work, bearing the title of "The Holocaust and Traumas of the Survivors' Descendants". Prof. Dr. Alfréd Schőner, Rector and Chief Rabbi greeted the participants of the conference, emphasizing the importance of remembrance.

Prof. Dr. Péter Popper spoke about the tormenting question: whether the Holocaust trauma can be treated successfully? He showed the possible answers by quoting lots of true stories as examples.

Dr. Klára László, university lecturer gave an account about the group therapy of members of the third generation of Holocaust survivors, conducted by herself.


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Zoltán Hábermann, university assistant lectured about the narrative therapy of the Shoah trauma. His examples derived from his daily social work with survivors

Judit Kárpáti, assistant chose a not very well-known subject in our circles: she gave us a glimpse of the sufferings of the Jews of the Middle East during the Second World War. Their fate was not that tragic as their European brethrens, however they lived under life threathening circumstances in the Muslim environment, which mostly admired the Nazi regime.


The moderator of the session, Prof. Dr. habil Judit Komoly, closed the meeting with her lecture on the changes in the Jewish identity in Hungary, which was illustrated with well-chosen examples.




A week later, the Language Department organized his session around the subject "Biblical Hebrew and the 20th-21st Centuries", which was opened by Mrs. Julia Schőner, the head of the Language Department, at this time also the moderator of the session.

Prof. Dr. habil Tamás Lichtmann led the audience into the world of Hebrew poetry in the Modern Era, quoting Hungarian and German translations of almost forgotten poets.


Rabbi István Darvas, in his presentation guided us into the joint fields of the modern Israeli pop music and the Biblical Hebrew language, whereas Iván Beer, university lecturer traced tracks of Biblical Hebrew in the contemporary everyday cultured language.

Choir leader, Mária Ádám examined the role of the psalms in Jewish music, illustrating her lecture with beautiful pieces.


Dr. Ferenc Borsányi - Schmidt, university lecturer remembered the poet Zvi Yair, zcl., who has passed away recently. In his lecture we could follow the long road taken by the religious poet from Debrecen to the Parnassos of the modern Hebrew poetry.





Prof. Dr. habil Jutta Hausmann, from the Lutheran Theological University, in her lecture examined the verb system of the Hebrew Bible in the light of the new research results.
Our guest professor, Eliezer Shlomovits (Haifa, Israel) spoke about the role of Biblical Hebrew in the modern days of the State of Israel.


Sándor Tóth, language teacher, in his closing lecture examined the relationship between the Biblical Hebrew language and the contemporary language of the modern Israel, illustrating it with lots of interesting examples.




On November 29, the Department of Biblical and Talmudic Sciences organized its session about those great Jewish personalities, who seemed to be forgotten in our everyday lives, titled with "Unjustly Forgotten". Last year our university hosted a conference of similar subject, however there were lot more valuable names, who could not be mentioned within the framework of one conference.



In the first section Prof. Dr. Alfréd Schőner, Rector and Chief Rabbi, in his opening lecture gave us a picture of the excellent graphic artist, Rabbi Sámuel Birnfeld, a victim of the Shoah, who also translated Petőfi's epos, "John, the Valiant" into Hebrew.




Dr. Róbert Fröhlich, Chief Rabbi and Brigadier General lectured about Baron Samu Hazai, the excellent soldier-politician, who took a long road from the simple Jewish home of the city of Rimaszombat to the velvet seat of the Minister of Defense. He was also the member of the House of Lords, and during his burial ceremony nine soldiers carried his military decorations.



Sándor Halmos, university lecturer of both our university and the University of Arad (Romania) spoke about the famous rabbis of the city of Debrecen, whose work and ministry became significant far beyond the borders of their town.

Rabbi Zsolt Markovits from the town of Szeged, praised the work of one of his excellent predecessors, Rabbi Jenő Frenkel, who persisted during hard times, too.

Dr. Ferenc Borsányi - Schmidt gave a lecture about the more than one-hundred-year old history of the Society of the Hungarian Israelite Artisans and Agriculturists, which can be a true story of success, proving that the Jews are able to do physical labor just like anyone else.


János Oláh, university lecturer surprised the audience with remembering the famous Jewish personalities, who contributed a lot to the world culture and all were born in a simple village of Northern Hungary, Liptószentmiklós.




Meanwhile in the second section, the moderator, Prof. Dr. habil. Staller Tamás, Deputy Rector gave a very interesting lecture on Arthur Koestler, whose memory has been recently honored by a commemorative plaque in Budapest.


Chief Rabbi Dr. habil. István Domán spoke about the almost forgotten educational form in Hungary, the once famous yeshivoth of the country.





Gábor Deutsch, the teacher of our university gave us a glimpse of the late chief rabbis of the Dob Street.





László Sommer, university lecturer gave a warning about the devastating situation of the Jewish cemeteries in our country. Dr. habil. János Rattmann remembered Solomon Maimon, one of the famous Jewish philosophers of the modern era.





Prof. Dr. habil. Tamás Lichtmann gave an outline of the past and the future of the Jewish literature, mentioning examples from Hungary and abroad.





Rabbi Tamás Róna, the rabbi of the Jewish communities of the Great Plain, spoke about the history of the Jewish community of the town Kecskemét, illustrating it with lots of names and data.

Rabbi Zoltán Radnóti, remembered the merits of Moses Mendelssohn and his circle, emphasizing the importance of their Bible commentaries.


Dénes Solnay, doctoral student, gave us a guided tour to the old Jewish life in Pest, with the help of lots of valuable photographs.

Dr. György Gábor, university lecturer, in his lecture recalled the life of one of the interesting Hungarian Jewish painter of the 19th century, in a fluent and idiomatic style.

The Rector of the university, Prof. Dr. Alfréd Schőner Chief Rabbi, in his closing speech thanked for the successful work of the conference and he expressed his hope that the texts of the lectures would be published in a representative volume in the near future.

December 2, 2005
written by Péter Róbert