At the age of 16, Zsuzsa walked into a Jewish cemetery for her father’s funeral.
That moment, she says, is when she learned she was Jewish.
In Hungary, where Zsuzsa was born and raised, Jews routinely grow up unaware of their religion. “After the Holocaust,” says Zsuzsa, “Jews were taught to whisper when they said they were Jewish.” Eventually, many people just stopped practicing Judaism—including Zsuzsa’s family.
Zsuzsa has been on a Jewish journey since her father’s death and has gradually embraced her history, religion, and culture.
Today, Zsuzsa is helping thousands of young Hungarians on their own Jewish journies. As the Director of the Balint Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Budapest and the Educational Director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee-Lauder Camp in Szarvas, Hungary, Zsuzsa runs camps and educational programs that teach children that their Judaism should be celebrated.
“The camps are not only fun, they’re an incubator of leadership,” she says. “The campers become counselors and get involved in the Jewish community as adults.”
“The Minneapolis community is really supporting us,” says Zsuzsa. “Because of you, I have six and seven year olds teaching their parents what it means to be Jewish.”
Zsuzsa and her team in Hungary are striving to make Judaism positive through summer camp– and by the looks of this video, their efforts are paying off!