The Mozaik Hub in Budapest

An innovative pilot partnership between JDC and the Federation

Spurred by the commitment to support Jewish life and community in Budapest, Hungary, the Federation teamed up with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in 2015 to create the Mozaik Jewish Community Hub (the HUB). The HUB, operated by JDC, is a professional platform for NGOs advancing Jewish life in Budapest, providing co-working space, learning opportunities, professional resources, and financial support.

Today, the HUB houses four member organizations, including:

  • The Haver Information Jewish Educational Public Benefit Foundation, which combats prejudice and promotes social cohesion through dialogue, training, education and advocacy;
  • Centropa, which preserves the legacy of pre- and post-World War II Jewish Europe by collecting photos and interviewing Holocaust survivors;
  • Limmud, the planning and administration team of Hungary’s annual Limmud study conference;
  • Mazsihisz Youth Council, the youth council of the Hungarian Jewish Federation; and
  • Hillel International is currently in the process of becoming a fifth member.

The HUB also offers various workshops and training sessions to 10 additional affiliated organizations and institutions; and, it is helping Jewish communal entrepreneurs develop startup projects from a simple idea into a reality. For instance, “Talmud is Not Only for Women,” one startup, brings adults together for a monthly Talmud study with one male and one female speaker.

Various forums can be found within the HUB, each serving as a platform for collaboration. The goal of these forums is to strengthen connections among organizations and entrepreneurs working to address similar issues. The four forums include: developing young leadership, integrating LGBTQ community members into Jewish community life, developing community journalism, and bolstering Jewish community responsibility.

The HUB ultimately may be expanded into other burgeoning Jewish centers in Europe. The program is a strong example of JDC-Federation partnership to build a strong, creative, and inclusive Jewish community throughout Eastern Europe.


One of the HUB's denizens

Julia Des

Sociologist, Julia Des, manages and teaches at the Haver Jewish Educational Public Benefit Foundation, housed at the HUB. She grew up in a Jewish home but says that Judaism was never talked about, aside from the stories she heard from her grandmother about the Holocaust. Thus, Julia’s childhood Jewish identity and associations with Judaism were tied to anti-Semitism.

"This has changed since then, especially since I manage Haver, which has a huge impact on my evolving Jewish identity.”

Julia describes the biggest challenge to the Hungarian Jewish community as being segmentation. She says, “I have not been able to make contact with many of those shaping the Jewish Community…Many within the community have no contact with each other; or even worse, they might consider each other rivals in their quest for scarce resources.”

The shared workspaces and networking opportunities facilitated through the HUB is one way of responding to this dilemma. When asked what kind of Jewish community she would like to see in the future in Hungary, Julia described some of what the HUB aims to accomplish: “A colorful community where the representatives of different groups are in touch with one another and help each other if and when needed.”

For more stories on our work in Budapest, read Budapest, City of Surprises, Rebuilding the Jewish Community of Budapest, or A K.I.S.S. for Budapest.  For information on the Federation's work overseas, visit our website or contact Rachel Barton at 415.512.6234.

Categories: Overseas, Grantees


June 07, 2016