Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Chief Rabbi of Budapest, Robert Deutsch, Dies at 59

Rabbi Robert Deutsch, the chief rabbi of Budapest, following a long illness. He was 59.

Deutsch died Wednesday, the Mazsihisz Federation of Jewish Communities said in a statement that spoke of the community’s “shock and deep sorrow” over his death.

He served as the rabbi of the Bethlen Square Synagogue from 1988 until his passing, and as chairman of Hungary’s board of rabbis.

“He never broke from the ancient tradition and tried to do everything possible to maintain religious Jewish life,” the Mazsihisz statement said, adding that Deutsch revived the synagogue, “turning it into a strong religious community.”

Born in Debrecen, a city in eastern Hungary, Deutsch was the son of a prominent rabbi. Deutsch was nominated at the relatively young age of 28 to the post of director of the Budapest Rabbinate, and later head of the rabbinical board and chief rabbi.

In 2010, Deutsch skipped a ceremony in which he was supposed to receive the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary because the event fell on Shabbat. He picked up the honor – the country’s highest civilian citation – at a later date.

He is survived by three children. Deutsch will be buried Thursday in the Hungarian capital.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.