Singles look for fun, or love, in Budapest

Others came to the March 16 to 18 "Jewish European Ball" and — well, didn't find that special someone.

The weekend, which included a traditional Friday night dinner and a walking tour of Jewish Budapest, was the brainchild of two Austrians, Dana Teichner and Ariela Gluck.

Two years ago, they organized a similar gathering in Vienna, and last year in Marbella, on Spain's Costa del Sol. The next event will be held in Marbella on July 8 to 15.

"We both come from the relatively small Jewish community of Vienna, and our idea was to bring young people together for a special weekend each year in a Jewish atmosphere," said Teichner.

Both religious and secular Jews may attend, she said. Organizers maintain a strict age limit of between 20 and 40.

"Someone over 40 wouldn't fit in with the group," Teichner said.

Most of the guests were singles, but Teichner preferred not to call it a singles event, saying some participants came to "develop relationships for business purposes."

The highlight of the weekend, the Saturday night ball, was held in Budapest's historic Museum of Fine Arts. The formal event was held amid sculptures by Rodin and paintings by the likes of Delacroix and Goya.

The band was imported from France. Most of the kosher food came from Vienna, but Budapest's famed Gundel Restaurant provided chicken paprikash.

Israel's ambassador to Hungary, Judit Varnai Shorer, endorsed the idea of bringing young Jews together, telling ball participants that the event "demonstrates the awakening of Judaism and Zionism in Europe."