What is "Friends of Sim Shalom"?

Friends of Sim Shalom is the United States' fundraising arm of Sim Shalom, the first Progressive (Reform) Jewish Congregation in Budapest, Hungary. Friends of Sim Shalom reaches out to American Jews to support the programs and operations of Congregation Sim Shalom.

As many Hungarian Jews are discovering and rediscovering their religious heritage, Congregation Sim Shalom is there to warmly welcome them to Progressive Judaism. We are extremely proud of Rabbi Katalin Keleman, who is Hungary's first and only woman rabbi. Rabbi Keleman has created a dynamic spiritual house for worship, learning, and community.

Time Line

1989 – 1994 Progressive (Reform) Judaism in Hungary begins by holding community gatherings in apartments of members and Lauder Javne Jewish School.
1992 Sim Shalom is legally founded as an association. Regular religious services, festivals, and study sessions start.
1994 – 1998 Community gatherings are held in an old Jewish study room or stiebl owned by the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association.
1995 Sim Shalom aquires a Torah scroll, formerly belonging to a Hungarian Hassidic Jew before WWII.
1998 Katalin Kelemen is ordained as a Rabbi after studying at the Leo Baeck College in London.
1999 Rabbi Kelemen inducted as spiritual leader of the Sim Shalom community.
2000 – 2006 Weekly programs are held in a rented three-room apartment, with large celebrations in a rented hall.
Szimchaz youth group founded. At that time it is the only youth group in Hungary associated with a synagogue. Sim Shalom is legally registered as a religious congregation by the state.
The congregation is forced out of their apartment by legal decision. All programs are held at the Jewish Community Center.
2009 Friends of Sim Shalom is organized in the US as a fund raising arm of Sim Shalom.
2010 A six room apartment is found in Raday Street. Renovation started with support from a grant from the Hungarian Government.
Sim Shalom moves into the Raday Street synagogue, and program and membership expansions start immediately.
2012 The Hungarian took away our registration as a religious institution which also cost us 25% of our annual budget in tax donations.

Our Needs

Congregation Sim Shalom needs the financial support of American Jews if Progressive (Reform) Judaism is to continue to grow in Hungary. Your donation can help this growing Progressive Jewish community reclaim seven centuries of history and rebuild one of the great centers of Judaism in Eastern Europe.

"We believe that the key to our survival is the education of our children. Thus, our goal, in the spirit of our ancient tradition, is the operation of a religious school for children of all years. In the framework of our B'nai mitzvah program - according to the progressive perspective - we provide the same training for boys and girls. We would like to make it a tradition to regularly have camps for our children." Rabbi Katalin Kelemen.

Why Does Sim Shalom Need Outside Support?
Why Should Non-Members Contribute to Sim Shalom?

Click here to read answer

How You Can Help Sim Shalom

Contributions to Sim Shalom may be designated to the:
  • General Fund
  • Education programs
  • Worship and life cycle events
  • Library development
  • Community events and charitable services
  • Building purhcase and renovation
  • Rabbi's discretionary fund
You may donate online using your credit card or PayPal account by clicking the following button:

Or you may mail your contribution to:
Friends of Sim Shalom
c/o Alice Grebanier, Treasurer
56 Kingswood Road
Branchburg, NY 08876
If you wish to make a donation to recognize or memorialize friends, family, and loved ones, just add a note when making your donation with their name and address and we will mail them a certificate of recognition.

Thank you for your support.

Rabbi Katalin Keleman, Congregation Sim Shalom, Budapest, Hungary
Jesse Weil, President, Friends of Sim Shalom, Hungary
Alice Grebanier, Treasurer, Friends of Sim Shalom, United States

If you would like to learn about Sim Shalom congregation, go to their website at
Sim Shalom, Progressive Jewish Congregation www.sim-shalom.org
Friends of Sim Shalom www.friendsofsimshalom.org

Friends of Sim Shalom is a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, and has federal and California taxexempt status.
Contributions to Friends of Sim Shalom are tax deductible under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.