Located on the Slovak-Hungarian border, Komarno is home to less than 100 Jews. But this small community is very active. The city boasts a Jewish cultural/ community center, publishes a monthly newsletter (in Hungarian with a summary in Slovakian), hosts a community website, conducts Shabbat services in the summer and celebrates Jewish holidays. Komarno works together with 10 other small Jewish communities in the region – both in Hungary and in Slovakia – with a combined 250 members.
Machar, The Future, Komarno is developing an online Jewish education project for adults from small communities in Slovakia and Hungary, which will also be available as a Smartphone app. Courses will be taught in both Slovak and Hungarian. The educational program is being developed in partnership with the following Budapest-based organizations: The University of Jewish Studies, the Hungarian Jewish Archives, the Jewish Cultural Association, as well as with two Slovakian Jewish organizations: the Slovak Jewish Heritage Center and ESTER: The Organization of Slovak Jewish Women.
Currently, four courses covering a range of topics are being offered each semester. Courses are being taught by local staff from the Jewish community of Komarno, as well as staff from the partner institutions. All lectures will be recorded and posted online; lecturers will teach in either Slovak or Hungarian and subtitles will be added in the ‘other’ language.
In addition to the courses being offered, the project also includes:
- Once a month sessions in Komarn (Sundays 10.30-15.30) on Jewish holidays, tradition and Israel. The monthly sessions are open to participants in the online course as well as others from the 10 communities. The sessions are being run by two educators and two project coordinators and interpreter translates between Slovak and Hungarian as needed.
- An educational weekend will take place each quarter, each time in one of the communities in the region. Participants will celebrate Shabbat, participate in informal learning activities and discussions and will have a chance to get to know one another. Interpreters will be on hand to provide necessary translations.
- Two annual staff training weekends for the projects five staff members and experts from partner organizations in Budapest and Bratislava. The trainings will be conducted by two longstanding volunteer coordinators from Komarno.
Providing Jewish education programming is just as important in small communities as it is in larger ones and is significant in ensuring the Jewish future of these communities. Through this project, the Pincus Fund for Jewish Education is able to maximize the impact, thanks to the regional coalition of small communities that is in place, thereby also maximizing the resources invested in this first-ever Slovak-language and Hungarian online Jewish education project.