Past Excursions

Winter Term 2017
Seminar "Jewish Cultural Heritage"

The MA seminar "Jewish Cultural Heritage," instructed by Carsten Wilke at the CEU Departments of Medieval Studies and History, is completed by an extra-curricular excursion program to Jewish historical sites and specialized documentary collections in Budapest. Students of the CEU Jewish Studies program are given the opportunity to visit five destinations: Óbuda Synagogue, a monumental neo-classical building of 1820, that after use as TV studio was recently returned to Jewish worship, a visit hosted by Rabbi Slomó Köves (February 5); the Jewish University, being the former Rabbinical Seminary founded in 1877, a tour hosted by Balázs Tamási, chief librarian of the university (February 9); Medieval Jewish Sites on Buda Hill, a walking tour guided by András Végh, archaeologist at the Budapest City Museum and at Pazmány University (February 13); the Hungarian Jewish Museum, with an introduction to the ongoing refurbishment and expansion by Zsuzsanna Torónyi, director of the museum and archives (March 5); and the Holocaust Memorial Center, a visit with Agnes Kende, guide at the Center and PhD student at CEU (April 2).

April 1-4, 2016
CEU/ELTE Jewish Studies Field Trip
Máramaros Region

The Jewish Studies programs of Central European University, Eötvös Loránd University and Palacký University (Olomouc, Czech Republic) will organize a joint field trip to Jewish sights of the border region of Hungary and Northern Romania. Our first stops will be at the Jewish cemetery in Nagykálló and the Christian "Merry Cemetery" in Săpânța (Szaplonca). We will then cross the Tisza River into Ukraine and take a walk in Solotvyno (Slatina). Before sunset we will arrive in Sighetu Marmației (Máramarossziget), where the hotel staff will provide us with a traditional Shabbat dinner. We will spend Shabbat visiting a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery, and three museums: Elie Wiesel Memorial House, the Museum of Arrested Thoughts (former Communist prison), and the open-air Museum of Architecture. After sunset, we will continue our trip to Baia Mare (Nagybánya), where we will be staying next to Firiza Lake. We will tour the city, including the synagogue, the medieval bell tower, and the Museum of Art, which exhibits paintings of the famous Nagybánya school. After a stop in Seini (Szinérváralja), a former center of Hebrew and Yiddish print culture, we will reach Satu Mare (Szatmárnémeti), the place of origin of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty. Monday will be spent there with visits to two synagogues and a cemetery.
Departure: 6:00 a.m. from Heroes' Square in front of the Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle).

September 27, 2015
Sukkot in Nagykőrös

We will meet at Nyugati Train Station and travel to the country town of Nagykőrös, 90 km south-east of Budapest. We will be visiting the Jewish cemetery and then join the Jewish community for the festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) at the synagogue, a building of 1925 in the eclectical style.
Departure: 1:30 p.m. from Nyugati Station.

March 1-2, 2015
CEU/ELTE Jewish Studies Field Trip
Tokaj Region

On our trip to north eastern Hungary, we will see synagogues and prayer houses from various periods, including the beautiful 18th-century baroque synagogue in Mád, the late 19th-century orthodox synagogue in Miskolc by Ludwig Förster, and the great synagogue in Gyöngyös by the famous synagogue architect Lipót Baumhorn from 1930. We will visit several cemeteries, with graves of famous Hasidic rabbis, including Reb Moyshe Teitelbaum in Sátoraljaújhely and Reb Shayele Kerestirer in Bodrogkeresztúr. We will also see a yeshiva, a rabbi's house, a rebbe's court, a mikvah turned into a pub, and remnants of a sukkah. We will visit the beautiful library of the Calvinist Seminary in Sárospatak, and see a few rare Hebrew codices there. We will finally visit the rebuilt synagogue in Tokaj and travel by ferry to an island in the Tisza River where the town's oldest Jewish cemetery is located.
Departure: 7:45 a.m. from Heroes' Square.

March 16-17, 2014
CEU/ELTE Jewish Studies Field Trip
Győr, Sopron, Eisenstadt, Bratislava

Our itinerary will pass through three countries (Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia) and lead us to sights dating from the 14th to the 20th century. All our destinations are located in the western border regions of the former Hungarian Kingdom, where a regional tradition of Jewish life and rabbinic culture flourished. Our itinerary will include the 1871 synagogue in Győr, the medieval synagogues of Sopron, the early modern Jewish quarter of Eisenstadt, which houses the Austrian Jewish Museum, as well as the tombs of the "Hatam-Sofer" and other chief rabbis of Bratislava, one of the major Jewish religious pilgrimage sites in Central Europe. The tour will be guided by faculty from both organizing institutions as well as by local colleagues.
Departure: 8 a.m. from BAH csomópont (tram line 61 from Széll Kálman tér or bus 8 from metro Astoria)

December 6, 2013
The Hungarian Jewish Archives

Zsuzsa Toronyi, the director of the Hungarian Jewish Archives, will receive us at her institution. She will talk about the archive's conception and holdings and show us some of its documentary treasures.
Appointment: 10 a.m. in front of the Talmud Tora building (Goldmark Hall), VII, Wesselényi utca 7.

October 20, 2013
The Great Synagogue of Pest and the Jewish Museum

A member of the synagogue staff will explain the history and symbolism of the synagogue, built in 1854-1859 in the Moorish revival style, and introduce us to the collections of the Jewish Museum, which illustrate Jewish religious traditions and Hungarian Jewish life from the Ottoman period to the Holocaust.
Appointment: 11:20 a.m., VII, Dohány utca 2, in front of the main entrance.

March 10-11, 2013
CEU/ELTE Jewish Studies Field trip
Southern Hungary

In cooperation with the Hebrew Studies Department at Eötvös Loránd University, CEU Jewish Studies will organize a two-day field trip to the Jewish monuments in seven cities of Southern Hungary and Serbia. Our overnight stay will be in Szeged, where we will visit Lipót Baumhorn's splendid fin-de-siècle synagogue (see image). The following morning, we will cross the border into Serbia and admire the Art Nouveau synagogue of Subotica/Szabadka. On our way, we will learn about Jewish history in the region and discover further architectural highlights in Apostag, Baja, Jánoshalma, Kecskemét and Nagykőrös. English-language explanations of sites and monuments will be given by faculty members Viktória Bányai (ELTE), Rudolf Klein (Szent István University Budapest) and Carsten Wilke (CEU). The trip is open to all members of the CEU community. Please contact Professor Wilke for details.

Academic Year 2012-1013
MA Seminar "Excursions into Jewish History and Culture"

Offering an introduction to Jewish culture in an unconventional form, this off-campus seminar will be co-taught by Carsten Wilke and various Hungarian scholars who will host us on sites of Jewish interest all over Budapest. The places we will transform into our classrooms include the Hebrew Library at Eötvös Loránd University, the medieval prayer-house and archaeological sights on Castle Hill, the historical Jewish cemetery on Salgótarjáni Street (image), the Great Synagogue and Hungarian Jewish Museum, the Hungarian Rabbinical Seminary (Jewish University), the Hebrew Manuscript collection at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Hungarian Jewish Archives, and the Holocaust Memorial Center. The last three sessions of the seminar take place on the field trip to Southern Hungary (see above). Interested visitors may participate in any of these tours (please contact the instructor).

March 21, 2012
The Rabbinical Seminary of Budapest

For all those of the CEU community who are interested in the Jewish history of Budapest, CEU Jewish Studies offer a walking tour of the premises, synagogue and library of the Jewish University / Rabbinical Seminary led by Dr. Judith Karpati, a professor of this institution. We will learn about the history of what has been one of the major centers of Jewish learning in Europe, founded in 1877.
Appointment: 2:30 a.m., VIII, Bérkocsis utca 2.

November 24, 2011
The Historic Jewish District and the Former Ghetto Area

Interested Jewish Studies students are invited to join a walking tour to Budapest's seventh district, guided by Borbála Klacsman. We will visit, among other sites, Dohany Street Synagogue, Heroes' Cemetery and Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, Carl Lutz Memorial, Rumbach Synagogue, Kiraly Street and the Memorial at the remnants of the ghetto wall.
Appointment: 2:00 a.m., CEU Monument Building, V., Octogon, Nádor St. 9

October 9-10, 2011
CEU/ELTE Jewish Studies Field Trip
Western Slovakia

Students and faculty from the Jewish Studies programs at Central European University, Eötvös Lorant University (Budapest) and Palacký University (Olomouc, Czech Republic) took a two-day field trip to Jewish heritage sites in Western Slovakia. We visited the former synagogues of Stupava, Malacky, Senec, Trnava, Nitra, and Šurany, discovering monuments in various styles from Baroque to Bauhaus that bear witness to the religious and everyday life of all three Jewish currents that existed in the former Kingdom of Hungary. After staying overnight in Trnava, home to an important medieval Jewish community, we visited the Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorial sites at Sereď, Nitra and Nové Zámky. In the latter locality, we enjoyed the hospitality of one of the last remaining Jewish communities of the region, whose members shared their personal recollections with us while guiding us through their cemetery, synagogue and community building.
Appointment: 7:00 a.m. in front of the Mátyás Pince, V., Március 15 Sq. 7.

March 17, 2011
The Medieval Jewish Quarters on Buda Hill:
Recent Archaeological Excavations

Dr. András Végh, archaeologist at the Budapest Historical Museum, shows and explains the remains of the 13th-14th century Jewish residential quarter, its synagogue and ritual bath, which were discovered in the course of two archaeological digs he led on the western side of Szt. György Street in 1998-2000 and in 2004-2005. We then visit the 15th century Jewish quarter and synagogue on Táncsics Mihály Street. The tour is part of Prof. Carsten Wilke's MA seminar "Introduction to Medieval Jewish Civilization".
Appointment: 9:00 a.m. in front of the Korona Cukrászda, I, Dísz Sq.