Hungary’s liberal and modernist Neolog Jewish community has been rocked by numerous apparent sex scandals involving several of the liberal community’s top tier rabbis.
The alleged scandal was unveiled by what is believed to be a member of the Neolog community operating an underground news site whose declared goal is to “expose information that the Neolog leadership seeks to hide as part of its efforts to integrate the movement into Hungarian society.”
According to the site, prominent Neolog figures have allegedly committed numerous religious, perhaps even criminal sins, while abusing their power and authority within the larger Hungarian community and in the organization itself.
One such report claimed that the rabbi in a major city in northeastern Hungary was regularly cheating on his wife and that he allegedly maintained romantic relationships with several of the women he had accompanied during their conversion process to Judaism.
The report further claims that the women who studied with the rabbi prior to their conversion were led to believe that they had to have sexual relations with him in order to successfully complete the process.
The site later provided what it said was proof in the form of a screen capture showing the rabbi asking forgiveness from the husband of one of his converts - who is now a member of his congregation - after admitting he had indeed had sex with his wife.
Another leak claims that the head of the Neolog community's conversion process sent a half naked picture of himself to a minor, whom he relentlessly tried to seduce despite her telling him she was not yet 18.
Following the allegations, the head of the Hungarian Neolog Rabbinical Committee, Rabbi Róna Tamás, sent a letter to his colleagues demanding that the two senior rabbis be questioned in a religious court.
He also called for further examination of the actions of one of the community's cantors as well as a rabbi who sits on the Rabbinical Committee, whom the site claims spied on one of his colleagues.
"For some time now, the authority of the rabbinate has been under attack,” wrote Tamás.
“In the case of two rabbinical colleagues, two Jewish spiritual leaders, an in-depth investigation has become essential to protect the good image of the Hungarian Jewry in the eyes of the majority, but also in order to protect the reputation of the entire rabbinical institution," he said.
According to Tamás, “when the rabbis weaken - the communities weaken in their wake, and if the communities weaken - the whole of Judaism will become defenseless. I believe that discovering the truth is in the long-term interest of Judaism, Hungarian Jewry, the Neolog community and the rabbinical community - even if in the short term the truth leaves us with a bitter taste."