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Former leader of anti-Semitic Jobbik party converting to Judaism

By Mason White 5:58 PM October 21, 2013
Csanad Szegedi 

By: Shifra Unger
The former leader of an extreme right-wing and anti-Semitic party in Hungary, is converting to Judaism.

Csanad Szegedi, the former leader of the far-right Jobbik party, learned last year that he was Jewish. He said that he is converting to Judaism with the assistance of Chabad rabbis in Budapest.

Szegedi, who was openly anti-Semitic until he learned he was Jewish, was one of three members elected by Jobbik to the European Parliament in 2009. He has since left the party, and now sits as an independent in the Strasbourg assembly.

Szegedi said that he is trying to keep kosher and observe the Sabbath.

“I find that I can reconcile my conservative views as a Hungarian Jew and as an observer,” he said.

When his Jewish ancestry was revealed, the leader of Jobbik wanted to keep him in the party in order to counter the claims of anti-Semitism. However, several anti-Semitic party members demanded that he be expelled from the party.

In June 2012, Szegedi revealed he had learned that his grandparents on his mother’s side were Jewish. His maternal grandmother survived Auschwitz and his maternal grandfather was a veteran of the labor camps.

Before the revelation of his Jewish origin, he was known for his inflammatory comments about Jews.
Szegedi began attending synagogue.

Szegedi started taking classes at a synagogue, learning Hebrew, the meaning of kosher and Shabbat. He said his life has completely changed.