Research & Studies

Week of Synagogues in Kőszeg 28th – 29th of August 2022

“Charity is equal in importance to all the other commandments in the Torah combined.”

Babylonian Talmud Tractate 9a of Bábá Bátra


Week of Synagogues in Kőszeg

A success story in Kőszeg: the Schey family

The exhibition A success story in Kőszeg: the Schey family will be opened at 3 pm on Sunday, August 28th at the newly renovated Synagogue in Kőszeg, Várkör 38. It is a part of the event series Week of Synagogues in Kőszeg, organised by the Institute of Advanced Studies (iASK). The exhibition is dedicated to Philip Schey (1798-1881), a philanthropist from Kőszeg who became a banker for the Habsburgs, the first Jewish person from Hungary who was honoured by emperor Franz Joseph with the noble title: Philip Schey von Koromla. The Exhibition documents all his great work for Kőszeg: support of economic, welfare and religious institutions.

The Past, Present and Future of Synagogues in Hungary

Ferenc Miszlivetz, General Director of iASK will open the exhibition at the beautiful 19th-century Kőszeg Synagogue on Várkör street, followed by the welcome speech by Béla Básthy, Mayor of Kőszeg and musical performance by Zoltán Mizsei, musician and researcher at iASK, Ernő Sebestyén, violinist, and a speech by Imre Söptei, archivist and researcher at iASK. The event will continue with a round table discussion titled The past, present and future of synagogues in Hungary moderated by Attila Pók, historian and researcher at iASK. Participants include Ruth Ellen Gruber from the Jewish Heritage Europe Foundation, Johannes Reiss, the Director of the Austrian Jewish Museum in Eisenstadt, Mónika Mátay, Historian and permanent research fellow at iASK, Ferenc Olti, President of the Jewish House of Excellence Foundation and Edit Szántóné Balázs, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Jewish Studies Research Group of iASK. At 6 pm on the premises of the Festetics Palace (Kőszeg, Chernel street 10.), a musical event Melodies of the Monarchy with Ernő Sebestyén (violin) and Ferenc Bognár (piano) will conclude the day.

The Jewish Memory Places of Kőszeg

On August 29th, iASK will organise guided visits to the Kőszeg Synagogue. Tours led by members of the iASK Jewish Studies Research Group will run every hour between 10 am and 2 pm. From 2 pm, Mónika Mátay, historian and researcher at iASK and Katalin Gürtler, the archaeologist will organise a visit to the Jewish cemetery in Kőszeg. At 4:30 pm, Attila Pók and András Nagy will present Edit Szántóné Balázs’s books: In the footsteps of Pannonian values, The Jewish community of Körmend, and A Modern Conservative Rabbi Béla Bernstein with the participation of Attila Katona, historian and researcher at iASK along with the presentation of István Balogh’s work in progress: The Jewish cemetery of Kőszeg. The event series will finish with a lecture on “The spaces of Jewish life” by Edit Szántóné Balázs, Senior Researcher and the Head of the Jewish Studies Research Group of iASK.

The Restoration Journey: Reviving the Kőszeg Synagogue

Kőszeg Synagogue

Photos by iASK

The restoration of an astoundingly beautiful Synagogue in Kőszeg started in 2020. This long-abandoned 19th century property has been owned by the state since 2016 which financed the renovation carried out by VM Construction Fővállalkozó Kft within the framework of the Kraft program of iASK institute that has a track record of preserving Jewish heritage. Kraft is a regional development program that includes economic, municipal, and academic actors that work together for the development of small and medium-sized cities. The Kőszeg-based Institute for Advanced Studies (iASK) coordinates activities in its Kraft centre. The architectural plan was created in October 2020 by the firm Tripartitum Építész Műhely Kft, and the restoration of the Synagogue was completed in 2021. This year, the renovation and redesign of the entire complex, including the rabbi’s house, courtyard, garden and fence are completed. The exhibition A success story in Kőszeg: the Schey family will mark the first step in reviving the Kőszeg Synagogue to host cultural events and religious services in the future.

Click here to read the article about the exhibition by Jewish Heritage Europe.

Click here to read the whole story about the restoration journey of the 19th century Synagogue in Kőszeg by Jewish Heritage Europe.