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June 8, 2021 1:17 pm

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis Helps Raise Funds to Restore Abandoned Synagogue in Hungary With Family Ties

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Jamie Lee Curtis. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis said on Sunday she is helping raise funds to restore an abandoned synagogue in eastern Hungary where her father’s family used to pray, and to turn it into a community center “for celebrations and art and music.”

The “Knives Out” star explained in an Instagram post that the dilapidated synagogue is located in the Hungarian town of Mateszalka and “just down the street” from a new memorial museum and cafe dedicated to her father, the late Jewish actor Tony Curtis, who died in 2010. He was born Bernard Schwartz to Hungarian-Jewish immigrants Helen and Emanuel Schwartz, who moved to New York from Mateszalka.

“It is empty now,” Jamie Lee said about the synagogue, “as the entire Jewish population was exterminated, but the building stands as a living tribute to those who lived there and continue to live there.” The actress has partnered with the mayor of Mateszalka to raise the necessary funds from the local corporate and private community to “refurbish and retrofit this extraordinary building.”


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A post shared by Jamie Lee Curtis (@curtisleejamie)

On Sunday, Jamie Lee attended the pre-opening of the memorial museum and cafe, which opens to the public on June 26. The exhibition features photos of Tony and various memorabilia, including “costumes from his movies and his paintings and awards,” she said.

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