The radical far-right Jobbik party is poised to emerge in next month's elections in Hungary as a potent force in Parliament, and the prospect is ringing alarm bells in Central Europe's largest Jewish community.
"It's scary," said Vera Szekeres-Varsa, a Holocaust survivor and former chair of the Hungarian branch of Amnesty International. "It's not like 60 or 70 years ago, but it's still scary."
Recently, I spoke to Reform rabbinical students in their class on "Jewish Political Tradition." Which is, exactly, what? My expertise, I told them, is politics, not theology. Here was my dilemma: to talk reality or defer to the orthodoxy of Reform Jews, which is to say, political liberalism. (Forget the Reconstructionists, i.e., Jewish Unitarians, who are oxymoronic "religious" secular humanists.) How confusing all this, especially for non-Jews, who are further told that Conservative Jews are somewhere between Reform Jews and Orthodox Jews -- sort of like the words "liberal" and "conservative."
"But is it good for the Jews?" That was the question many of our grandparents voiced when they perused the morning papers -- a question we may have dismissed, even with affection, as a narrow or parochial expression.
In "Yentl's Revenge," an anthology of Jewish feminist writings, the editor, Danya Ruttenberg, puts forward a call for a transgendered approach to Judaism.
An emerging conservatism among Jews has rattled traditional Southern California partisan allegiances, and local Republicans are claiming a surge of new Jewish recruits. But in Orange County, one of the most conservative strongholds in the nation, party leaders say the migration has been going on for years.
"I think it has been rather consistent and ongoing for quite some time," said Tom Fuentes, chairman of the O.C. Republican Party. "What I've seen is a philosophical motivation among practicing Jews involved with their faith finding a value compatibility with the values of the Republican Party."