Hungarian Jewish group condemns youth leader’s anti-gay stance

Mazsihisz federation of Jewish communities orders internal probe into conduct of Mazsihisz who said homosexuals “should not touch or read from the Torah, or preside as members of the Mazsihisz board."

November 25, 2013 18:42
1 minute read.
Wedding in the town of Jun, southern Spain.

Gay wedding holding hands 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Pepe Marin)

Hungarian Jewish leaders have condemned a prominent member of the community for his anti-gay statements.

On Monday, the Mazsihisz  federation of Jewish communities ordered an internal investigation into the conduct of Mate Feldmajer, head of the Mazsihisz  youth division, who last week said in an internal email that homosexuals “do not make recommendations [at Mazsihisz],” and should not touch or read from the Torah, or preside as members of the Mazsihisz board.

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Mazsihisz, or the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, is the main umbrella group of Hungarian Jewry and is affiliated with the Neolog community, a moderate reformist movement.

In a statement issued Monday, Mazsihisz wrote that the community “strongly condemns any manifestation of exclusion,” adding: “Our Association opposes and combats racism and anti-Roma sentiment, anti-Semitism and homophobia.”

The statements by Mate Feldmajer  – a son of Mazsihisz’s former president, Peter Feldmajer — were made in response to criticisms of Mate Feldmajer’s performance by a fellow Jewish leader identified as David S., whom Hungarian media reported was gay.

David S. criticized Mate Feldmajer in connection to a charity activity organized last week at Csenyete, a town in northeastern Hungary.

Led by Mate Feldmajer, Jewish and Muslim activists distributed clothes and other gifts to impoverished Hungarians from the Roma community of Csenyete. During the November 17 distribution, dozens of Roma began squabbling, shoving and threatening each other.

David S. wrote that the distribution was “in violation of the fundamentals of our beliefs on how charity should be performed.”

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