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

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict