A Jewish radio station was started in Budapest on December 1, 2003. „Radio Zs” [dзeı] launched by Hungarian Shofar Association provides 24-hour broadcast in the Hungarian Internet World Radio (Magyar Internet Világrádió) network. „Radio Zs” is an open, self-organized and non-profit initiative providing free program time for all Jewish organizations, communities and institutions active in Hungary.

A Jewish radio station was started in Budapest on December 1, 2003. „Radio Zs” [dзeı] launched by Hungarian Shofar Association provides 24-hour broadcast in the Hungarian Internet World Radio (Magyar Internet Világrádió) network. „Radio Zs” is an open, self-organized and non-profit initiative providing free program time for all Jewish organizations, communities and institutions active in Hungary.

The pilot broadcast of „Radio Zs” has been available for nearly two months from anywhere in the world with the help of an Internet computer program (it can also be downloaded free of charge from our portal, our address is: sofar.hu.) We are also planning to launch ground and satellite broadcasting in the near future, depending on our technical and material resources. Our program range has been widening from week to week; even today, many religious or secular organizations and schools present their own programs. Beyond live broadcasts by our staff in Israel, we have been making and broadcasting cultural program guides, voice portraits, contemporary and archive interviews, historical series, various religious and discussion forums and literary selections.

The first Hungarian-speaking Jewish radio and our linking Internet portal organization is the pilot model of the „New Horizons” concept of Shofar Association. The essence of our concept is that new communication channels have to be opened among various Jewish groups and directions, the population attached to the Jewish community through relatives, friends or cultural links and the non-Jewish members of recipient nations and societies. We wish to liven up mutual information flow via these channels and to show the everyday life, culture, history and traditions of the colorful and divided world of the Jews in an open, sincere and humane way. We would like to break through the walls of one-sided stereotypes about the Jews; we are convinced that a major part of prejudice proliferates on the soil of fallacies filling in the gaps of information and knowledge.

Our plan is aimed at outlining three new horizons.

1.Outlining 21st-century Jewish identities. We intend to establish common platforms for various Jewish groups, directions and assimilated Jews; we would like to find together a common connecting minimum. In order to do that, we have to clarify where we have come from and where we are going to. Therefore we find it important to explore the history of Hungarian Jewry and jointly elaborate integration strategies for the 21st century.

2.Presenting the world of contemporary Jewry in an all-round, easily comprehensible way. On common platforms it is going to be clearly outlined for everybody that Jewry, as such, is an abstract notion: in practice, it involves very many groups of people, with many differences in their ideology and culture and with thousands of links to the recipient cultures and having a several-thousand-year-old common tradition as a connecting link.

3.Outlining a subtle picture of the Jewish state. Nowadays, Israel is mainly presented for Europeans as a site of war. Our local correspondents provide daily close-ups about the everyday life of the Israeli society with their worries, pleasures, doubts and contradictions, allowing us insight into the ideas and desires of people living there.

Budapest, December 1, 2003

Intro letter

Dear Sir/Madam ,

I would like to draw your attention to the establishment of the first Jewish radio station in Hungary, „Radio Zs” [dзeı]. Please find attached the English translation of the official announcement of 1st December.
Hungarian Shofar Association is an independent non-profit organization; its members aging between 20-92 have not participated as members in existing Jewish organizations. Our aim is to look for and establish new channels of activities in order to achieve on the long run the well-being of future generation of Jews in this country and even possibly in Europe.

Our major concept named „New Horizons” has the potential to serve as an example for other European countries. Summing up the underlying idea, it offers a common ground for all the representatives of Hungarian Jewry, with the promise that by getting to know each other better and being able to tolerate the existing differences we can agree on basic principles in the following issues:

Our main objectives are:

1. to build and reinforce a positive Jewish identity by the means of researching the history of Hungarian Jewry and outlining various future perspectives,

2. to show our diversity to the non-Jewish majority in order to destroy stereotypical views and prejudices,

3. to create a fair and humane representation of the life of the people of Israel for everybody and so help to strengthen the sense of solidarity with the Jewish State and its citizens.
Our pilot project realizing the above mentioned principles is Radio ZS, in which each and every branch and institution of the Hungarian Jewish community is offered a chance to have its voice heard. According to our concept they will produce their on-air magazines and broadcast without any editorial restrictions.
The staff of the radio is on its way to get established, dealing with issues of shared interests.
Transmission started in October on the web and on 1st December the existence and activities of the radio station was officially announced.

The actual state of art of the project is the following:

1. According to our initiation all Jewish organizations should participate in the project and get free on-air time. The presently running broadcasts are of the Chabad Lubavitch Association, of Esztertaska Fund of Jewish Feminists, of Szombat, Jewish Journal and of the Lauder Jewish Community School. The rest of the institutions has shown interest in the project, but so far not taken part in it.

2. A staff of the cultural division is processing the sources of the lives of more than 400 significant figures of Hungarian Jewry, working on an archive database and complying broadcasts on literature. They are also producing interviews, summaries, highlighting cultural events and talking on issues of contemporary Jewish life in Hungary.

3. A staff of historians produces a series on the history of Hungarian Jews, based on primarily sources, with a popular, interactive approach in cooperation with the staff of the cultural section.

4. An Israel based staff broadcasts coverage from Jerusalem and Eilat on a weekly (from January daily) basis.

5. I am personally responsible for smooth transmission, the technical and development of the radio and its internet site, as well as supervising and editing of music and broadcasts. I am also coordinating the activities of the staff of various locations and keeping promotion and other relations running.

6. At the moment all activities and productions are conducted by volunteers, running costs are paid by the members of the Shofar Association. We have no sponsors or financial support yet.

7. Our radio station transmits through the web 24 hours a day worldwide.

Following a period of further development, organizing and networking, the complete system is about to function within a couple of months. Further developmental plans include ground based as well as satellite transmission after receiving the necessary permissions and financial resources.
A project proposal is being prepared covering all aspects of our project and its objectives are described there in detail.

I hope you find our initiation and the project itself worth of your attention. If you are interested in our project I would like to suggest setting up a meeting between us in order to discuss and clarify the means and framework of possible cooperation.

I am looking forward to hearing from you ASAP,

Yours sincerely,

Attila Seres
President of Hungarian Shofar Association
Budapest, December 5, 2003.


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