Mozes's faith, even in prison

Mozes’s faith, even in the prison

written by:  Andrea Szabó

Balassagyarmat:  The open-minded policy of the Prison of Balassagyarmat gathered nation-wide praise in the recent years, and not only from the professional side. The philosophy and everyday practice of this unique, creative penitentiary centers around one thing: giving the inmates a chance to be socially useful outside the walls of the institution, to teach them, the values of hard work, to enrich them both culturally and morally. Keeping this spirit in mind, the leadership of the institution undertook tasks in the last years such as: renovating an abandond chapel, look after the playgrounds, parks and graveyards of the city and making them more cultivated, and doing some other smaller public works.

A few months ago the inmates of the prison helped to renovate the surroundings of the jewish cemetery of the town for free. The local jewish community and the Kertész István Foundation wanted to thank this help, and they offered in exchange, to teach the prisoners about the basics of the jewish culture. The first class was held a few days ago in the so called chapel-room of the prison. It was a facultative program, but the room was packed anyway. The secretary of the Kertész István Foundation, Majdán Béla, historian, spoke about the jewish heritage of the town, and also about the origins of the jewish religion, and the Holocaust. The audience payed close attention as Mr. Majdán spoke about the basic laws of Mozes, and the story of Samaj and Hillél. Mr. Majdán crafted his words very carefully and clearly, when he spoke to the mostly under-educated crowd, about respecting the Allmighty and his laws, about the everlasting social and moral values and guidelines of the Ten Commandments, about the basic lesson: „Don’t do something to others, if you don’t want the same thing to be done with you”. And he was clearly able to connect with his audience.

The phrases: „Don’t kill, because you don’t want to be killed, don’t steal, because you dont want things to be stolen from you, don’t cheat on someone, you love, because you don’t want to be cheated upon” were followed by silence and it was clear, that the inmates were thinking about what they just heard. After the presentation Mr. Majdán and the prisoners engaged in a good conversation and the rapporteur of the institution announced, that due to the great success it will be another evening like this, and Mr. Majdán will visit the prison again in a few weeks. He accepted the invitattion right away, and promised, that next time he will talk about the great holidays of the jewish religion. The year 5772 is oming anyway, so it will present a good opportunity to do so.