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August 6, 2012 1:18 pm

After Discovering Jewish Roots, Member of Neo-Nazi Apologist Party Meets With Rabbi

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Hungarian Chabad Rabbi Shlomo Koves.

After leaving his Neo-Nazi apologist party following an uproar over the discovery of his Jewish roots, former Hungarian Jobbik party member Csanad Szegedi has met with a Chabad rabbi.

Recounting his reaction to the request, Rabbi Shlomo Koves said that he “was stunned,” according to the Wall Street Journal,“But as a rabbi, it is my duty to receive anybody who requests advice or help,” he said in explaining his decision to agree to the meeting.

Hungarian news website Nepszabadsag reported that Szegedi apologized to the rabbi, saying, “Had I made any comments in the past years that offended the Jewish community, I ask for forgiveness.”

“Szegedi is in the midst of a difficult learning process of self-awareness and re-evaluation,” said the rabbi in an email to The Algemeiner “we all hope that it will end positively. Whether this will happen or not depends on his own free will.”

Szegedi also expressed a desire to visit the Auschwitz, where his grandmother was held by the Nazis. “Now that I have been faced with my Jewish roots, that I do not regret at all, keeping in touch with the leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community has become especially important for me,” said Szegedi.

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The rabbi expressed reserved encouragement to the ex-Jobbik vice-president following the meeting. “I wish for him that he be able to redeem the past years. He can do that best, if, apart from getting to know his own roots, he does everything in his power to keep others from being led astray, like he had been,” said Koves.

“I call on my own community and the general public to await the outcome of the case and not to set hasty judgment,” concluded the rabbi.

In an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner last month Koves, who was challenged to a debate by Gabor Vona, leader of the Neo-Nazi apologist party, outright declined the request. “Here is a party which makes openly anti-Semitic comments,” he said at the time, “what is there to debate about.”

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  • David

    Check out another article on this subject at http://drmandler.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/already-csanad-szegedi-goes-to-the-rabbi/ where you can also find other articles on Hungarian Jewish politics on http://www.drmandler.wordpress.com

  • THE COMMENT I THINK OF RIGHT AWAY IS THAT…
    these rabbis are way to young to be giving needed advise in mant facets of life they are confronted with.
    Advise to the nazi can turn him into deeper hatred and possible danger to the jewish community or help him convert as the nazi didnt mention his mother or what side his grandmother was from.

    AN OLDER RABBI WOULD ‘not’BE STUNNED BY SUCH A REVELATION BY THE NAZI. There are enough stories in the past of such things.

    • Joy

      In a serious effort to find, welcome and minister to Jews throughout the worldwide diaspora, Chabad sends out young (and energetic!) rabbis and their spouses/families (children, mainly) to locations everywhere that there’s a Jewish community (or a semblance of one). They put roots down and begin to build the mutual confidence & respect between themselves, as “frontline” representatives of Chabad, and the people for whom they are sent to represent spiritual Jewish leadership.

      From what I’ve observed, they’ve mostly been VERY successful in these myriad communities worldwide – and they help build up a community and raise their families there. However, they also educate their own children in the ways of Chabad, so that the sons can eventually be rabbis and minister to others in other communities – and the daughters can be suitable wives for other Chassidic young men, to carry on that noble endeavor.

      From personal experience, witnessing TWO Chabad rabbis & their families and their respective houses of worship in my part of the world (So. Cal.), I think they’re truly doing G-d’s work! Furhermore, I have every confidence that this young rabbi in Hungary will connect with the young former neo-nazi; but, as he’s quoted as saying, it’s definitely up to the young “repentant” man himself and his “own free will!”

  • Robert Evans

    My wife and I just returned from Eastern Europe, including Hungary. We were truly shocked at the levels of ani-Semitism we saw and felt, highlighted by a very brief conversation with one of the Jewish guides at the Dohenny Synagogue in Budpest. Jewish life in Hungary seems very fragile . . . almost as if WWII never happened. I wish Rabbi Koves great success in his efforts with this bad man as he tries to cope with his having done bad things. I’m not quite as forgiving. Yet it is important that the Rabbi say the right things for people to apologyze and see the errors of their (bad) ways towards Jews and others.

    • Alex Kohn

      How did you “feel” it?

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