Mayer brothers, the Hurvitzim and the new generation

After János Kőbányai left the scene for Israel, through a family connection the older Mayer, András started to substitute him in the minyan, so that the “old folks” could go on praying every Shabbat morning. He was fascinated with old Gláser and his ways, and soon enough he brought along his brother, Gábor.

Laszló Horovitz is one of the Hurvitzim; he is now around 50. He was brought up in the neighbourhood and had his Bar Mizva in the Shul. Upon completing a Chazan course at the Rabbinical Seminar of Budapest, he became the Chief Chazan of the shul in the beginning of the 80′s.

In the 1990′s the Nagykőrös synagogue in the countryside was renewed, and started to function during the High Holy Days.  Sándor Feldmájer, president of the Nagykőrös shul, and a long time supporter and important member of our community, asked László Horovitz to lead the davening in Nagykőrös during the High Holy Days.  Jakab Gláser asked Mr. Fried, a Munkács-born Hasid with immense knowledge to lead the prayers in Horovitz’s absence.  Our dear Fried, who was around 80 at that time, remains etched in many of our memories as a unique individual who knew all the old hasidic tunes, and who seemed somewhat indestructible, praying standing upright throughout Yom Kippur, neither eating nor drinking, at the ripe old age of 84.

In 1999 old Fried passed away, and László Horovitz was about to head to Nagykőrös for the festivals. Our shul was clearly in trouble. Who will lead the praying? Will there be enough people to pray at least during the most important days of the year?

The Mayers took some friends along to the shul through the years, to replace members who had passed away, but still, this was clearly not enough.

In a desperate attempt to solve the problem, the Mayers started calling everyone they knew, all their friends, and all their friends’ friends, everyone they could get hold of from the Hungarian Jewish world, to ask, nay beg, them to come, or to send people to help.

It looked as if all synagogues in Budapest had the same problem. No one seemed to be able or willing to help. As a last resort, they called Chabad, and got help. Since that festival, and over the next few years, 2 chabad bochrim (students) came to help make a minyan. The bochrim were really helpful, and accepted all the rules of this particular shul, the order of prayers and customs. Teleki shul did not turn into a Chabad synagogue.

As it turned out, Chabad sent their bochrim out everywhere in the countryside to help small synagogues observe the High Holy Days.

One day in 2005 a new “bocher” arrived from Chabad, he spoke funny Hungarian, (he was inventing the language from all the other of the many languages he spoke) and really enjoyed himself.
He was rabbi Shalom Hurwitz, leader of Chabad’s Pesti Yeshiva.

Rabbi Hurwitz simply fell in love with the atmosphere of the shul, and become a regular member, and with time, the rabbi of the shul. He is now the religious leader of the shul and the growing community. Being a hasidic rabbi, father of 6 and leader of a religious school, Rabbi Hurwitz of Johannesburg is a surprisingly open minded, kind hearted and a very learned individual.

The rabbi’s wife, Dvora Leah started cooking tsunt (cholent) for the shabbat morning kidushim, bakes amazing cakes and brownies, and cooks scrumptious meals on religious occasions, such as the Seudas of Purim, Chanuka, Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashana and even Melavah malka’s etc.

In the years after old Gláser passed away, the shul has experienced an incredible renaissance. Along with many longstanding congregants, new members are starting to find their home in our community, attending events and classes and religious services.

Today, with a free blending of the old and the new generation of congregants, our shul comprises a diverse crowd, from different cultural backgrounds, ages and knowledge of their Jewish faith.