Win for Hungarian Jews in human rights court

European Reform Jews landed what they said was an important victory in their legal fight for equal recognition and funding from the governments of Hungary and Poland.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, ruled against the Hungarian government, the president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, Leslie Bergman, said April 24 during his organization’s biennial conference in Dresden, Germany.

The EUPJ was among more than 10 religious organizations that sued the Hungarian government over its 2011 Churches Law, which stripped several denominations, including Hungary’s Szim Shalom and Bet Orim Reform communities, of government recognition and funding. The law recognized only those institutions in existence at least 100 years internationally and at least 20 years in Hungary, and that represented at least 0.1 percent of the population.

A panel of seven judges ruled on April 8 that Hungary had acted in a manner “inconsistent with the state’s duty of neutrality in religious matters — jta