The Jewish Museum in Budapest
T he Jewish Museum in Budapest was constructed on the site of the two-story Classicist style house of Theodor Herzl — who was one of the fathers of modern political Zionism, having formed the World Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish migration to Palestine in an effort to form the Jewish state of Israel — which adjoins the Dohány Street Synagogue.
The Jewish Museum was built in 1930 in accordance with the architectural style of the Dohány Street Synagogue and was attached to the main building in 1931.
It holds the Jewish Religious and Historical Collection, which is a collection of religious relics of the Pest Hevrah Kaddishah — also known as the Jewish Burial Society — ritual objects of Shabbat or Shabbos and the High Holidays and a Holocaust room.
Examples of the aforementioned ritual objects include — but are not limited to — Torahs, menorahs, candlestick holders and seder plates.
Stained glass windows highlight biblical moments in the history of Judaism.
The Jewish holiday of Shavout — which last occurred in June of 2016 — is represented in this display.
The words of the Torah — derived from the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which are also part of what is known as the Old Testament in Christian bibles — are typically written by a scribe in the Hebrew language on parchment in the form of a scroll.
Not just anyone can be a scribe to write each letter by hand, as it is considered a work of art. The decorative metallic object to the right in the foreground of the photograph is known as a yad, which is used to point to the specific text in the Torah as it is being read.
Many ritual objects of Judaism are considered a work of art.
During the occupation of Hungary by Germany during World War II, the building of the Jewish Museum served as the single route of escape because its gate was located outside of the territory of the Jewish ghetto of Budapest.
Menorahs can consist of many shapes and sizes and are used for different purposes.
These items are typically used for the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year — and it started on the evening of the next day while I was in Budapest. Shofar, so good.
Greater than 400,000 Hungarian people of the Jewish faith were murdered by the Nazis; and the items shown in the above photograph display some of the items owned or used by them.
These yellow patches — shaped like the Star of David, which is a symbol for Judaism — were worn by Jewish people who were forced to wear them as they were enslaved in concentration camps by the Nazi regime.
The above gruesome photograph shows the callousness of people as they nonchalantly go about their business amidst the dozens of corpses of Jewish people who were murdered and waiting to be cremated.
The Dohány Street Synagogue Operating Hours
The Raoul Wallenberg Emlékpark is part of the complex of the Dohány Street Synagogue and is therefore subject to the same hours of operation.
Open at 10:00 in the morning every day of the week except for Saturday, when the synagogue is closed to visitors; but closing hours vary as shown below.
From November 2 through February 28 or 29 of the following year:
Sunday through Thursday until 4:00 in the afternoon
Fridays until 2:00 in the afternoon
From March 1 through October 31 of the following year:
Sunday through Thursday until 6:00 in the afternoon
Fridays from March 1 through March 31 until 3:30 in the afternoon
Fridays from April 1 through October until 4:30 in the afternoon
The last Friday in October until 3:30 in the afternoon
The Great Synagogue of Budapest is open through 2:00 in the afternoon twice during Erev Savuot and once during Erev Smini Aceret; and through 3:00 in the afternoon during the Jewish Summer Festival.
Keep in mind that the ticket office closes 30 minutes earlier than closing time.
The Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum are closed on the following days:
- March 15: National Holiday
- Passover or Pesach
- Rosh Hashanah
- Yom Kippur
- Twice during Sukkot
- October 23: National Holiday
- All Saints’ Day
- December 24 and 25 for Christmas
Address and Telephone Numbers
1074 Budapest, Dohány utca 2-8
Located in district VII., at an angle to Károly körút, between Deák tér and Astoria
Contact address: 1075 Budapest Sip utca 12
+36 1 343-0420
+36 1 317 2754
+36 1 321 0408 for the Jewish Museum
By the way, utca is the Hungarian word for street.
- Metro: Astoria station on the 2 line
- Bus: Routes 7 or 7A
- Tram: Lines 47 or 49
I walked approximately 15 minutes from the Courtyard by Marriott Budapest City Center hotel property at where I stayed.
Admission to the Dohány Street Synagogue
1,400 Hungarian Forints or approximately $4.75 in United States dollars; or receive a discount of ten percent if you have a Budapest Card.
Admission to the Jewish Museum
Single ticket, museum only, without a guide:
- Adult: 2,000 Hungarian Forints or approximately $6.80 in United States dollars; or receive a discount of ten percent if you have a Budapest Card
- Student or pensioner: 850 Hungarian Forints or approximately $2.90 in United States dollars; or receive a discount of ten percent if you have a Budapest Card
Single ticket, with guide:
- Adult: 2,250 Hungarian Forints or approximately $7.65 in United States dollars
- Student or pensioner: 1,850 Hungarian Forints or approximately $6.30 in United States dollars
- With Budapest Card: 1,800 Hungarian Forints or approximately $6.12 in United States dollars
Group ticket of greater than ten persons, with a guide:
- Adult: 1,900 Hungarian Forints or approximately $6.46 in United States dollars
- Student or pensioner: 1,500 Hungarian Forints or approximately $5.10 in United States dollars
- With Budapest Card: 1,300 Hungarian Forints or approximately $4.42 in United States dollars
Inside the synagogue, men are required to wear a small skullcap called a kipah or yarmulke; but you will receive one at the entrance.
My visit to the Jewish Museum in Budapest — which was also part of my visit to the Dohány Street Synagogue and the Raoul Wallenberg Emlékpark — was quite interesting. I would absolutely recommend visiting all three, of which I would advise you give yourself at least half of one day — if not the entire day — depending on your interest.
All photographs — except for the one from the Holocaust — ©2014 by Brian Cohen.