architecture : urban : visual culture

"Looking for a past to understand the present" - the Rabbi House in Mád

Mád is a cultural and educational center for the Hasidic Jewish community in its area. After World War II and the harrowing decay of its Rabbi House, a competition was only announced in 2012. The restructuring and the rebuilding lead by Zsolt Szécsi began the same year.

In the center of Mád, near the synagogue with baroque and copf architectural style - with the same age - stands the Rabbi House. During its history, activity, and name of many famous rabbis - for example, Amram Blum, Feivel Horovitz, Abraham Schwartz and his son, Naftali as well as Mordechai Leib Winkler – can be related to this place.

Although Mád was not one of the most significant Hasidic centers, its yeshiva (yeshiva is a religious institution, whose role could be best translated as a seminary) was attracting students from all around the world. In the early 20th century the number of the yeshiva's students were over one hundred.

During World War II the Jewish community was transported to Sátoraljaújhely, then to Auschwitz. The Synagouge of Mád and the Rabbi House were left empty. In the next centuries these places with educational and residential function came to the same faith as other sacred Jewish spaces: decay, and as a result of unfortunate renewals – in the ’60s – the original structural system of the house has changed to form emergency accomodations.

Changes were only to happen in the 20th century. The house then became property of asset management and have been since taken care of by EMIH. After more than ten years, in 2012 a competition – named „Utazás a Zsidó örökségben Észak-Magyarországon - zarándokút az észak-magyarországi zsidó vallási és kulturális örökségek mentén” (Journey in the Jewish Heritage in Northern Hungary – pilgrimage along the Jewish Religious and Cultural Heritage of Northern Hungary) – was announced, providing an opportunity to create a new, modern function to introduce and maintain the jewish culture and to regain its long lost architectural values.

Reconstruction of the building started in 2012, during which the original structures of the building were explored and detailed research of the architectural history was made. The reconstruction was completed in 2015. Since then, the building is the center of the Jewish memorial places of Tokaj-Hegyalja. It includes a museum, an interactive exhibition space („the rabbi’s working room”), a family tree research room (in the attic), an accomodation with private rooms and in addition a well-equipped kosher kitchen.

The two-storey building with mixed-stone and brick walls and voult - despite the alerations and damage – managed to preserve the baroque characteristics. For example in the veranda part – under a later pavement – was found the original baroque flooring.

In the attic new rooms were built, the former space system was restored on the ground floor and the ground floor, the old areas of the building got preserved and presented as well as the old smoke house found behind the rabbi room’s wall.


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