Photo of the week: Largest synagogue in Europe

I have a half decent collection of photographs from travels over the last few years and I thought I may as well start using them regularly on this blog. Starting my first one with a picture from Budapest.

The Dohany Street Synagogue or the Great Synagogue in Budapest resembles a mosque from the outside because of its Moorish inspired architecture. On the inside however its layout is more church-like. It is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world.

This wonderful synthesis didn’t extend to their English speaking tour guide however. Someone asked her about whether Hungarian Jews still faced “prejudice” in modern Hungary. She quickly corrected the visitor saying, “You call it prejudice but we call it anti-semitism,” and then proceeded to say something deeply prejudicial herself.

“Well there aren’t that many Muslims in Hungary,” she said to the front row of American Jews, propagating this dangerous idea that Muslims are inherently anti-Semitic.

And then added, “Today the anti-semitism is not open but it is hidden by the majority Christian population.”

Ignorant tour guides notwithstanding, the Synagogue is a definitely worth a visit.

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3 Responses to Photo of the week: Largest synagogue in Europe

  1. Noopur says:

    Beautiful. I live in Paris. There’s a small gloomy looking building in our distritct…I see lots of men & boys in Kippas there every sabbath (and policemen hanging around there on fridays to make sure there’s “no trouble”). Looking at this synangogue, feel sorry for my jewish neighbours. How happy they’d be to have something more decent 🙂

    • alaphia says:

      Oh yeah this synagogue is grand. Next time you’re in London you should definitely look me up. I’d love to meet you after all these years of TV viewing. I’ll give you shout if I’m in Paris.

  2. Very nice – look forward to seeing more of your pictures.

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