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HN-HZ Archives | Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia
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HOFETZ HAIM (ca. 1837-1933).

Scholar, author, and one of the prominent leaders of Polish Orthodox Jewry. Born Israel Meir Kahan in Zhitil, Poland, he derived his surname from his book Hofetz Haim (He Who Desires Life), a treatise against slander. Rabbi Kahan founded a yeshiva in Radin and, refusing important rabbinical positions, devoted his time to writing and teaching. When World War I erupted, he was active in raising funds for the support of Polish and Russian Jewry. Often he interceded in their behalf before the Russian government. In 1930, he personally protested to the Polish government against government interference with Jewish religious and economic rights. A learned man, he was the author of thirty books on Jewish ethics and law. Mishnah Berurah, a six-volume treatise on Joseph Karo‘s Orah Haim, is a highly valuable manual for rabbis today.

HOFFMAN, DUSTIN.

See Stage and Screen.

HOL HAMOED.

Days between the beginning and the end of the festival, which are only semi-holidays.

HOLOCAUST.

See Netherlands.

In the Jewish people’s long history of martyrdom, the catastrophe that eventuated from the six years of Nazi conquest in Europe between 1939 and 1945 was unprecedented in suffering and death. The Jewish people lost more than 6 million people, or two-thirds of its European community, and one-third of the entire Jewish people.

On February 24, 1920, an ex-corporal in the German army named Adolf Hitler and a group of professional antisemitic agitators, including Julius Streicher, Alfred Rosenberg, and Gottfried Feder, met in a Munich beer hall and founded the National Socialist Party. (Streicher and Rosenberg were later sentenced to death by hanging by the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremberg in October 1946. Hitler escaped the world’s verdict by committing suicide in his private bunker in Berlin at the end of April 1945.)

Nazi Program. The core of the National Socialist Party (Nazi) program was the racist doctrine that “only he in whose veins German blood flows” might be considered a citizen of Germany, and therefore “no Jew can belong to the German nation.” Antisemitism was the emotional foundation of the Nazi movement; every member of the Nazi party was an antisemite.

Hitler, the Fuehrer, or dictatorial leader, of the Nazi Party, announced his antisemitism as well as his inhumanity proudly: “Yes, we are barbarians! We want to be barbarians! It is an honorable title. We shall rejuvenate the world! This world is near its end

HOLY LAND

. See Israel.

HONDURAS.

The first Jews to reach Honduras were East Europeans who came from other Latin American countries in the 1920’s. In 1998, there were fewer than 50 Jews in Honduras, in a general population of 5.5 million. Almost all live in Tegucigalpa, the capital, and engage in trade.

HOROWITZ, VLADIMIR (1904-1989).

Concert pianist. Born in Kiev, Russia, Horowitz studied music at the conservatory in his native city. He performed his first solo concert in 1921 and made his American debut seven years later. He settled in New York, and in 1933 married Wanda Toscanini, daughter of the famous conductor. A great interpreter of classical music, Horowitz has appeared with outstanding orchestras everywhere. His numerous recordings have made him a household name.

HOSEA (c. 784-725 B.C.E.).

First of the minor prophets. He lived in the turbulent idolatrous northern Kingdom of Israel when it was at the height of its power under the rule of Jeroboam II. Hosea’s prophecies thunder against moral, religious, and political evils as offenses against God. He predicted the doom of Israel as punishment for its idol worship and social injustice. Yet he loved his people and saw visions of its restoration after the punishment. Then a reconciliation between Israel and God would come about, arising out of God’s love of Israel and all humanity. Hosea’s all-consuming ideal is love; in striking phrases he compares God to a loving father and faithful husband.

Hosea’s words (2:21-22) are recited by the observant Jew when he puts on his tefillin, or phylacteries, each morning. As he winds the thong of the hand phylactery three times around his middle finger, he pledges himself anew to the three-fold ideal first pronounced by Hosea.

HOSHANA RABA.

See Sukkot.

HOUDINI, HARRY (1874-1926).

World’s most famous magician. Born Ehrich Weiss, he was known mainly as an escape artist, who could be chained inside a water-filled tank and still be able to escape. His exploits have never been surpassed.

HOVEVE ZION.

Literally, Lovers of Zion. A 19th-century East European organization for the settlement of Jews in Palestine. A direct reaction to the widespread pogroms in Tsarist Russia, it grew out of the thinking and writing of a few men and from scattered colonization societies that began to spring up in the 1860’s. The Hoveve Zion federation was organized formally at a conference in Kattowitz, Silesia, in November 1884. (See also Zionism.)

HUBERMAN, BRONISLAW (1882-1947).

Violinist. Huberman began to study the violin in his native Warsaw at the age of six and made his first public appearance a year later. He pursued a successful career in Germany until Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. In 1936, he visited Palestine, where he conceived the idea of founding a Palestine Symphony Orchestra. Owing to his unstinting efforts, the orchestra was founded, and Arturo Toscanini conducted its first concert in December 1936. This was the forerunner of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

HUNGARY.

Jews lived in Hungary as far back as Roman times, when the area was part of the Roman province of Dacia. Conquest of the land by invading Magyars in 897 meant for Jews continuous plunder and persecution at the hands of Catholic kings. Under Turkish rule from 1526 to 1686, the situation of the Jewish populace greatly improved. Austrian domination, however, again changed their circumstances for the worse. France Joseph II (1741-1790) emancipated the Jews, but his decree was carried out only partially. A number of Jews fought on the side of Hungary against Austria in the revolution of 1848.

At that time there was a severe struggle between the Orthodox and Reform elements of Hungarian Jewry, which led to a split in 1871. Three congregational groupings emerged: Orthodox, Reform, and “status quo.” Modern Hungarian Jewry has been characterized by sharp contrasts: on the one hand, extreme piety; on the other, extreme assimilation, even to the point of conversion to Christianity.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Hungarian Jews were occupying important positions in the economic and cultural life of the country, in the arts, the press, and the sciences. However, the interval between the two World Wars was marked by the growth of antisemitism.

Before World War II ended, the Germans had occupied Hungary. In the summer of 1944 they transported 400,000 local Jews to Auschwitz.

The end of the war found some 120,000 Jewish survivors in Hungary, of whom about 80,000 lived in Budapest. The Jewish community, like the rest of the population, was in dire economic straits. In addition, antisemitism was no less virulent than at the height of the Nazi terror. When Hungary came under Soviet domination in 1948, Jews suffered especially from directives aimed at eliminating middle-class elements from the nation’s economy. Although official Communist doctrine forbade antisemitism, an unusually high percentage of Jews were included in the mass deportations of “undesirables” from the larger cities begun in 1951 and continued into 1952. The Hungarian Zionist movement was outlawed. All contact with Western Jewry and Israel was severed. Emigration was barred. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, responsible until 1953 for most welfare and economic aid to the Jewish community, was forced to leave. The Hungarian uprising of October-November 1956 was accompanied by some anti-Jewish acts, and 18,000 to 20,000 Jews fled the country, streaming mainly into Austria. The Jewish population today numbers 50,000. Eighty percent of the Hungarian Jews live in the capital, Budapest. There are also small communities in Debrecen, Miklosc, and Szeged. The community has a high proportion of Holocaust survivors.

HUPPAH.

See Marriage Customs.

HYRCANUS, JOHANAN.

Of all the Hasmonean rulers who reestablished and strengthened the independence of Judea, Johanan Hyrcanus was the most successful. Son of Simon the Maccabee, Hyrcanus ruled from 135 to 104 B.C.E. His defeat of the allied Samaritans and Syrians and conquest of their cities ended forever the threat of Syrian rule and extended the borders of Judea to the west and north. Hyrcanus turned next to the south and conquered the Edomites, forcing them to accept Judaism. During his thirty-year rule, the Second Jewish Commonwealth attained its greatest independence and power. At the end of his rule, he came into conflict with the Pharisees, one of the two political parties that had developed in Judea. The Pharisees wanted to deprive him of his position as high priest, but this group paid heavily for their opposition to Hyrcanus, who drew closer to their opponents, the Sadducees.

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