Beginning in 1839, politicians in
This community decided it needed a new synagogue to meet its needs and express its hopes. This new synagogue was built over a period of five years and finished in 1859. It stands 246 feet (75 meters) long and 89 feet (27 meters) wide. The ceiling inside is 39 feet (12 meters) high. Its two towers are 141 feet (43 meters) high.
An organ was built in the synagogue. Both Franz Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns performed on it.
In 1860 Theodore Herzl was born. For the next 18 years he lived in a house next to the synagogue. Even so, he had little to do with the prayer taking place there. Nonetheless, later in life he become the founder of Zionism. As a movement, Zionism would lead to the creation of the state of
In February 1939, some pro-Nazi Hungarians bombed the synagogue.
The Nazi occupation of
After the war, surviving Jews again used the building for prayer. The building could not be properly repaired, however, until after the fall of the Communist government. Restoration began in 1993 and was completed in 1996. It was paid for primarily by a $5 million donation from the Hungarian Jewish immigrant Estée Lauder.
Today the synagogue continues to be used as a place of prayer by Jews in Budapest.