Reform congregations in Hungary turn to European Court of Human Rights

Protesting new Hungarian church law which only recognizes Conservative, Orthodox and Chabad denominations

BUDAPEST (JTA) – The European Union for Progressive Judaism and Hungary’s two Reform congregations took their case against Hungary’s new law on religion to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

The two synagogues, Sim Shalom and Bet Orim, said in a statement that they had submitted an application Tuesday to the court “concerning the violation of their human rights” caused by the “Church Law.” The new law, which became effective Jan. 1, grants official recognition to three streams of Judaism in Hungary: Neolog (Hungarian Conservative), Orthodox and Status-quo (associated with Chabad-Lubavitch) congregations.

“As a consequence of the enforcement of the Act, the ‘church’ status of the Hungarian [Reform] congregations was revoked,” the statement said.

The two Reform communities contend that the new law is “illegal” and “discriminatory,” the statement said, and had already called on the Hungarian Constitutional Court to annul it.

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