Status Quo Ante

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STATUS QUO ANTE

STATUS QUO ANTE , term applied to those communities in Hungary which after the schism that occurred at the Hungarian General Jewish Congress of 1868–69 (see *Hungary) did not join the *Neologist organization or the Orthodox communities (1871) but retained their former pre-Congress status. As they did not have a central representation, they conducted their affairs on a separate basis, while their relations with the government were maintained through the local authorities. It was only in 1927 that they organized themselves into a national organization – the Status Quo Ante Communities of Hungary – recognized by the government in 1928.

During the time of the schism in 1868–69, a number of communities, including some of the larger and more important ones, sought to maintain their traditional character. Thus for example, Abraham S. Sofer (Schreiber), rabbi of Pressburg (Bratislava), asked M. Perls to continue his rabbinical position at the head of the united community. Only a small number of them, however, succeeded in their objectives because the separate organization of the Orthodox claimed that the united communities were no longer faithful. The status quo ante communities were ostracized by the Orthodox, with their rabbis and shoḥatim. The communities which did not join the Neologists or Orthodox were thus completely isolated. According to the census of 1930, the membership of the status quo ante communities was 17,440, compared with 292,159 for the Neologists, and 134,972 for the Orthodox.

The most important status quo ante communities were those of *Debrecen, *Eger, Gyöngyös, and *Nyiregyhaza, and outside Hungary, between the two world wars, Nagyszombat (Trnava) in Czechoslovakia, and Nagykároly (*Carei Mare) in Romania. When the Jewish communities were united by a governmental order of 1950, the status quo ante organization was also closed down.

bibliography:

S. Ha-Kohen Weingarten, in: Areshet, Sefer Shanah shel Iggud Soferim Datiyyim (1943), 431–8.

[Baruch Yaron]