Newsletter No. 31
Adar 5767 – March 2007

Dear Friends!

The past year has undoubtedly been turbulent, but thanks to your support and the dedication of the staff, we are facing the future with confidence.

"All is for the best"

During the preparations for the traditional 'Herzl Day' conference in July 2006, distressing events began to occur, culminating in heavy Katyusha bombardment of our city Safed at the outbreak of the war. We were forced to postpone the conference and, for the first time ever, to close the doors of the Museum.

When the fighting ended, we noted with relief that the staff members and their families were unscathed and the Museum had suffered no direct damage. The undirect damage was a significant loss of income for the Museum during the main tourist season.

A new date for the Herzl Day conference was determined - during the Sukkot holidays. In retrospect, this proved to be excellent decision, so it was decided to retain this date in the future as well.

The conference was devoted this time to the younger generation and its involvement in perpetuation of the heritage. It was attended by over 600 participants. We were moved by the interest displayed by the children and grandchildren of old friends and by the buzz of activity in the Museum and the conference area.

We would like to thank those who helped organizing the conference and the lecturers: General (res.) Aharon Zeevi Farkas; the authors Zahava (Leitner) Kor and Suzanne Adam; David Leitner; the pianist Oliver Deutsch and the Hungarian Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Gyenge András, who conveyed greetings. We are grateful to the Révész family for donating the annual scholarship in memory of their parents, Dr. Mordechai and Dr. Thea Révész of blessed memory, and to Ayala Révész-Simchoni for organizing the children's activity in the Sukkah.

Photo: Chairperson of the board, Professor Hanna Yablonka.

Prepare for the next Herzl Day Conference

in Safed at the beginning of October 2007, with focus on the socio-cultural aspect. The theme for this year and the next: the contribution of Hungarian-speaking Jewry to the State of Israel, in anticipation of the 60th anniversary of its establishment.

Second-generation activity is underway

Recently, we have launched a series of events aimed at the younger generations. At the first get-together, we discussed various possibilities for involving members of these age groups in promotion and development of the Museum. The participants were afforded a glimpse into some of the 'treasures' of the Museum and the stories behind them were related by Hava Lustig (See photo).

We have held two sessions so far of the series called 'The Heritage of Hungarian-Speaking Jewry in Israel'. At the first meeting, the author Carmit Guy spoke about her book 'The Journey to Yad Hanna', the story of life in the kibbutz founded by her parents and their comrades of the Dror-Habonim youth movement (In the photo with Ronny Lustig).

The second meeting, a lecture by Guy Raz, was devoted to Hungarian-born photographers who commemorated the Zionist enterprise.

The forthcoming events of the series:

General Assembly (Tel Aviv – December 13, 2006)

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to the memory of Moshe Alpan of blessed memory, previous chairman of the board of our Museum and one of the most prominent members of the Zionist underground in Hungary during the Holocaust. Among the speakers on this moving occasion were members of his family, his friends Ephraim Agmon and Eli Netzer and the Museum's director, Yosef Lustig.

During the assembly several representatives of the younger generation joined the Association. We hope to continue revitalizing the ranks in the coming years.

Like father like son

Ronny Lustig, second generation of the directorial level, works tirelessly for promotion of the Museum. It was with a sense of déjá vu that we were once again taken by surprise when, during a festive reception at the residence of the Hungarian ambassador, the Hungarian Minister of Education and Culture, Dr. Hiller István, awarded him a certificate of merit in appreciation of his activities. Two years previously the same minister, also unexpectedly, presented a high decoration on behalf of Hungary's President to Hava & Yosef Lustig, founders and directors of the Museum for twenty years. May they go from strength to strength!

Audio Exhibit

The permanent exhibition at the Museum has recently been upgraded by the installation of an audio system, which guides the visitors among the items on display in a choice of several languages (Hebrew, English or Hungarian). From now on the visitors can listen to the fascinating stories behind the exhibits and thus conduct their tour more independently. However, if interested, the visitors may still consult the staff concerning any questions related to the exhibition.

The Museum in the Media

Our New Educational Workshop

We have recently taken over a room in the adjacent building, which has been converted into an educational workshop through the praiseworthy efforts of Ayelet Shalgi, our curator and Ruthi Gilad, the educational coordinator.

In the unique atmosphere of the workshop, children enjoy fascinating educational activities: 'Childhood Cut Short', 'Taking Risks in order to Rescue', 'Grandpa Tibi's Suitcase', 'The Scroll of the Jewish Scouts' etc.

Schoolgirls from Safed attending the Museum. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger).

Overseas News

To Whom Do We Owe Thanks?

To all of you, dear friends, who support the Museum's activities, donate items to enrich our collection or give us financial donations to further our objectives.

A glimpse at some of our new exhibits

The Staff and members of the Board of the Museum share in the grief of the families of the Friends of the Museum who passed away this year. Blessed be their memory.

Our heartfelt thanks
and best wishes
for the upcoming holidays go to:

Annual Membership Renewal

Please pay attention to renewal of your membership as a friend of the Museum.

Your generous donation will help us maintain the Museum and further develop it for the benefit of all generations.

Our friends in the U.S.A. may contribute a tax-deductible donation for the Museum through the P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds Inc. If you wish to donate this way, please print the form, make a check payable to P.E.F. Israel Endowment Funds Inc. and send it to their New York office along with the enclosed form.

We greatly appreciate your ongoing support and contribution to our Museum.

On behalf of the Staff and the Board,

Prof. Hanna Yablonka
Josef Lustig
Directing Manager