The Jewish Quarter of Budapest.

Who is the odd man out? Tony Curtis, Graham Norton and Estee Lauder? Lets analyze this. All three used the same makeup foundation.  One passed away two years ago, the other two are alive. Two are Jewish and one is a gentile. Two are circumsized and one is not. Two donated zillions to the Great Synagogue in Budapest after the Hungarian Revolution for its restoration. So the correct answer is “Graham Norton” who despite circumcision, did not donate zillions to the synagogue.

Having trekked to and through many churches and cathedrals in Italy last year, to the exasperation of my companions, I spent Monday morning exploring the Jewish quarter. The Great Synagogue in Pest presents a decidely Christian aspect both inside and out: it has a long nave, a transept and elevated pulpits and an organ. It is to the unitiated, a catholic cathedral. The jewish sect in Pest are called Neologs and  intentionally designed their synagogue to keep the christians on side.This really upset the fundamentlst old school jews who left the synagogue in droves. There are two characteristics however that mark it as a synagogue: the men and women are separated at worship (unless you are the wicket keeper for the Bangladesh World Cup Cricket team)  and secondly the organ is absolutely not played on sundays. Tickling the ivories and stomping on the pedals is regarded as ‘work” and there is no work whatsover on the sabbath. I of course can verify this as even playing the Alto Recorder is hard, with a capital “H”, work. I then walked around the streets of what was the Jewish ghetto during the second world war with a guide who I would describe as the archetypal Jewish boy from the Bronx.

sunlight appears to strike the alter