A New Museum Exhibit in Budapest Examines the History behind Hungarian Jewish Foods

When András Koerner retired from his career as an architect in 2003, he devoted his time to, as Joe Baur explains, “meticulously documenting and uncovering Jewish Hungarian life and foodways prior to the Holocaust—first through a series of books, and now through a museum exhibit in his hometown.”

Koerner’s exhibition Jó Lesz a Bólesz, which documents the history of Jewish Hungarian cuisine, is on display through November at Budapest’s Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism in the Óbuda neighborhood, once home to the region’s largest Jewish community in the late-17th and early-18th centuries. The name of the exhibit is a Hungarian pun that roughly translates to “the bólesz will be good”—bólesz being a snail-shaped yeast pastry with walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon historically tied to the Jewish Hungarian community.

The dish, Koerner explains, dates back to Sephardi Jews who fled to Holland following the Spanish Inquisition. These Sephardi bakers were responsible for the creation of the Dutch pastry zeeuwse bolus, which became bólesz when a Hungarian Jewish traveler tried to bake something similar after returning from Holland in the 19th century. “It represents one of the very few instances of Sephardi influence in the overwhelmingly Ashkenazi character of Hungarian Jewish cuisine,” Koerner said.

The museum exhibit opened in April. “I believe this is the first comprehensive historical and chronological exhibition that has existed about Jewish culinary culture of any country,” Koerner said, noting the various 19th-century artifacts and recipe manuscripts he donated to the museum after inheriting them from his ancestors. “They represent the most comprehensive surviving group of 19th-century culinary artifacts and manuscripts from a Jewish family in Hungary.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hungarian Jewry, Jewish food, Sephardim


Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria