Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
In the face of rising anti-Semitism, I tell stories of identity and resilience through the eyes of Millennial Jews in Budapest.
In the face of rising anti-Semitism, I tell stories of identity and resilience through the eyes of Millennial Jews in Budapest.
78 backers pledged $12,085 to help bring this project to life.

About

Documenting Jewish Resilience to Anti-Semitism in Budapest project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Documenting Jewish Resilience to Anti-Semitism in Budapest

$12,085

78

Summary

With your help, I will spend 10 months in Hungary writing an anthology-style book on Millennial Jewish Resilience in Budapest. Each chapter of this book will represent, in as close to their own words as possible, individuals' experiences who are regularly impacted by anti-Semitism as well as Jewish strength. An audio component will complement this book, compiled from the various interviews I will conduct.

While there is an increasing amount of online attention paid to rising political anti-Semitism in Hungary (see the New York Times exploring anti-Semitism initiative), not enough work is being done to highlight this community's resiliency (picture Humans of New York, Budapest style). The Millennial Jewish community in Budapest serves as a global reminder of our universally shared human drive to live fully. I yearn to share these stories. 

*NOTE: Shipping for rewards says within US only. I WILL ship to Budapest!!! Please add $5-$10 for shipping anywhere else*

Importance and Relevance

In her own words, 23-year-old Agnes, a young Jewish female committed to contributing her story to my anthology-style book while obtaining her MA in Nationalism Studies and Jewish Studies at Central European University in Budapest, considers embracing her Jewish identity to be "an obligation of revolting against injustices in the world."

Agnes
Agnes

It is especially important to highlight Jewish resilience right now because Jewish people are at risk. Agnes observes this through sculptures of Governor Miklos Horthy (head of the Hungarian state between 1920 and 1944 who agreed to deport most Hungarian Jews to concentration camps) rising across the country; friends, colleagues, and strangers making crude comments and behaving inappropriately in daily interactions; a rise of anti-Semitic extremist power in government; and a mass exodus of individuals and families that want to embrace their faith.

Most amazingly, while, according to Agnes, "parents and grandparents had high hopes for Socialism" and believed that one day anti-Semitism would pass, the current generation of young Millennial Jews in Budapest know that not only is anti-Semitism a persistent force, but "Jewish identity is a value to be kept and not forgotten.

When I asked Agnes what she would tell Americans if she could, she said "I would remind them how beautiful it is that after 4 decades of secular Socialist dictatorship a Jewish revival took place in this country." Agnes did not know of any media representations which dealt with the richness of Jewish culture, which is a tool we must take advantage of in this generation to augment solidarity, enrich cultural awareness, and prevent genocide.

In light of Agnes' story, and the background below, the timing of this nonfiction book is pivotal in uniting Jewish communities internationally before anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe escalates any further.

*NOTE: Shipping for rewards says within US only. I WILL ship to Budapest!!! Please add $5-$10 for shipping anywhere else*

How would this project help?

This book will make authentic stories of experiences with anti-Semitism in Budapest available to a wide audience. Following the publication of this book, I plan to travel across the United States to distribute the book to cultural and academic communities. This distribution and educational awareness process will stir interest and action. I hope this project will generate publicity and dialogue around a potentially culture-threatening issue, which one day I hope might result in political pressure on Jobbik and others. This book may also serve as an educational tool for young people coming of age in Hungary and in Europe to mobilize around their connectedness, their Jewish culture, their heritage, and their humanity. Such a sensitization could cultivate an empathy that would render the transaction cost to engage in or condone anti-Semitism higher. 

*NOTE: Shipping for rewards says within US only. I WILL ship to Budapest!!! Please add $5-$10 for shipping anywhere else*

Background

The inspiration for this project began last spring. In March 2013, I traveled to Budapest and interacted with a number of young Jewish adults wavering uncomfortably between their national, cultural and religious identities, which immediately inspired me to initiate this journalistic project. With degrees in psychology and international studies, I recognize the impact this struggle leaves both on the individual and also on international relations at large. My academic and volunteer experience in communications, human rights, and conflict mediation will act as advantages in enhancing intercultural understanding and humanizing personal stories.

The context for this project is quite rich and quite pressing. Historically, Budapest is home to a thriving Jewish culture. Recently, though, anti-Semitic acts in Hungary are on the rise. A news report compiled by the Anti-Semitism Research Group detailing anti-Semitic incidents in Hungary in 2012 sadly exposes a frightening amount of cemeteries desecrated, pig trotters draped over a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, Nazi graffiti, verbal abuse, sporadic physical attacks, and Menorahs on public display kicked over. Additionally, Jobbik, a party on the far right and the third-largest party in Parliament, was popularly elected on anti-Semitic platforms and encourages a major extremist presence on the Internet. In May 2013, hundreds of members of the Jobbik party rallied in the streets of Budapest protesting the decision to host the World Jewish Congress in Hungary, exemplifying the party’s threatening influence.

*NOTE: Shipping for rewards says within US only. I WILL ship to Budapest!!! Please add $5-$10 for shipping anywhere else*

Project Plan

With the guidance of a journalist who has published an anthology-style book on youth violence in Chicago and who is an active professor of creative writing, I have set this project up on a 10-month timeline. I anticipate leaving New York for Budapest in September 2014 and completing the project and returning to the United States by June 2015. 

I will organize this project into four stages.

    In June 2013, I began interviewing young Hungarian Jews based in Budapest. So far, I have interviewed seventeen individuals over Skype and look forward to six more interviews in the next month. Perspectives so far range from non-profit professionals, students, professors, historians, activists, educational coordinators, program coordinators, synagogue directors, directors of Jewish Community Centers, and individuals relatively unaffiliated with Judaism. I aspire to also interview Jewish rabbis, Jewish parents of the generation between Holocaust victims and Millennial Jews, Holocaust survivors, and additional students, experts, and community professionals. I will ultimately compile the stories of these individuals into a nonfiction anthology-style book with each chapter highlighting a unique individual’s tale.

For the second stage of this project, I will travel to Budapest! This stage will involve a sequence of in-person interviews, which will be recorded. The interviews will then be transcribed and will go through a first round of edits, then a second round of edits after the first draft is read and reflected upon by the stories' contributors.

The third stage will involve engaging heartily with close-knit communities inside and outside of the Jewish world in Budapest. This will make for an authentic reflection of life as a Millennial Jewish young adult in the book and ensure that no aspects of the story are ignored.

Finally, I will work to increase awareness of the circumstances of Millennial Jews in Hungary among intellectual communities.  Upon my return to the United States, I aspire to distribute these stories to communities and universities across the West to augment understanding of Jewish life in Hungary. In due course, I would love to turn these stories into a documentary film that may add a visual element to the dynamic anecdotes within this rich yet endangered tradition.

*NOTE: Shipping for rewards says within US only. I WILL ship to Budapest!!! Please add $5-$10 for shipping anywhere else*

Risks and challenges

One challenge in completing this project is that I am not a native Hungarian speaker. Young Hungarians are extremely well-versed in English; however, to overcome this potential obstacle, I plan to work closely with a translator.

If other unexpected set backs do arise, as they always do, I will be sure to keep my funders well-informed. Based on extensive planning with professionals experienced in this type of work, I feel confident that I have prepared to the highest degree possible.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 18 or more About US$ 18

    Chai (חי), a Hebrew word and symbol equal to the number 18, translates to “life” and represents good luck. Jews often give gifts of money in multiples of 18, symbolically giving the recipient the gift of “life” or luck.

    With a pledge of CHAI, or $18, I will e-mail you monthly with informative and entertaining updates about the project as it progresses, repeatedly thanking you for sending luck and life my way. These updates are OPTIONAL!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    18 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 36 or more About US$ 36

    With a pledge of $36 (double Chai), I will send you a copy of the final compilation of every story transcribed in Budapest about Jewish resilience and the evolution of youth identity and faith.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    24 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 54 or more About US$ 54

    With a pledge of $54 (triple Chai), I will send you a copy of the final project with photographs and personalized notes from all of the young Jewish Hungarian adults who contributed their story to this anthology-style book.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    12 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 108 or more About US$ 108

    With a pledge of $108 (Chai x 6), I will include your name (if you'd like) in the acknowledgements section in the beginning of this anthology-style book, highlighting that this project could not have happened without your curiosity and generosity.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    7 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 504 or more About US$ 504

    With a pledge of $504 (Chai x 28), you are invited to a dinner with me and all of the young Jewish Hungarian adult contributors to this anthology-style book who are available at the time of your visit in Budapest!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,800 or more About US$ 1,800

    With a pledge of $1800 (Chai x 100), you are invited to a weekend with the author/project designer Alyssa in Budapest (flight not included, Alyssa will act as tour guide). Some story contributors will be available for Q&A

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 3,240 or more About US$ 3,240

    With a pledge of $3240 (Chai x 180), Alyssa will present her nonfiction compilation of ethnographic stories in your hometown or professional setting of choice, followed by a detailed Q&A.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,400 or more About US$ 5,400

    With a pledge of $5400 (Chai x 300), Alyssa will design a flight-inclusive weekend in Budapest for you, personally catered to your passions and preferences.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)