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Új Élet

(New Life), published in Budapest, is the official journal of the Hungarian Jewish organized community. Appearing first on 18 November 1945, it was a weekly until 1957 and has been a biweekly ever since. Until 1984, no editor’s name was listed on the masthead. From 1984 until 1991, Rabbi István Domán edited the journal, succeeded by Rabbi Péter Kardos.

Successive changes in the subtitles of Új Élet reflect alterations in the identity of Jews in Hungary. The subtitle until 1951 was A magyar zsidóság lapja, “the Paper of Hungarian Jewry,” and from 1951 until 1989 it was A magyar izraeliták lapja, “the Paper of Hungarian Israelites.” In 1990, for a short while, the subtitle was changed to A magyar zsidók lapja, “The Paper of Hungarian Jews,” and since then it has been A magyarországi hitközségek lapja, “The Paper of Jewish Communities in Hungary,” published by the Magyarországi Zsidó Hitközségek Szövetsége, the Association of Jewish Communities in Hungary.

Until 1951, Új Élet professed to be the journal of all Jews of Hungary, including those who looked upon themselves as an ethnic minority. But the replacement of the word Jewish with the word Israelite—carrying only religious connotations—indicated a major change in the implied audience, a transformation connected to other alterations in the contents. Until 1951, articles tackled issues of actual political concern, such as the relationship of the Hungarian political elite to problems of Jewish status. From the 1950s on, when the Communist state controlled every aspect of Jewish public life, Új Élet became a denominational newspaper concerned only with the internal affairs of the Jewish religious community of Hungary. After 1989, when the Jewish press was once again pluralistic, Új Élet voluntarily retained the role of a denominational paper. Its pages have mirrored the complexities of the attempted Jewish renaissance in Hungary.

Suggested Reading

Sándor Scheiber, Magyar zsidó hírlapok és folyóiratok bibliográfiája, 1847–1992 (Budapest, 1993), no. 350.