Hungarian Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles

Hungarian group marks centennial

The Cleveland Press, May 13 1981

The centennial of the founding of the HBSU (Hungarian Benevolent and Social Union) will be celebrated on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights.

Frank D. Celebrezze, chief justice of Ohio Supreme Court, will be the guest speaker at the event. Other guests who will attend are Cong. Dennis Eckart and Leonard J. Stern, former justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Special recognition will be given to 50-year members. Festivities will include a banquet and entertainment, featuring Hal Lynn and his orchestra.

Joseph Weiss is president of the organization which has a membership of about 500. Other officers are Alvin H. Roth, first vice president; Ben Stenberg, second vice president; Leonard Trauben, third vice president, Warren Miller, secretary, and Jack Pavni, treasurer. The members meet monthly at the B'nai Jeshursum Temple in Pepper Pike.

The organization also has a women's auxiliary which has a membership of about 280. Mrs. Martin Wald serves as its president.

Originally founded as the Hungarian Benevolent and Social Union, the name was reduced to HBSU in 1915.

The organization maintains the original objectives of the charter members-to extend to benevolent hand to the community and to keep a fraternal feeling among members through social activities.

The spirit of the organization stems from its founding. In the latter part of the 1800s, a rivalry developed between two groups of young Hungarian Jewish men living in Cleveland. One group, whose members were older than the members of the other group, felt it was superior and tried to exert dominance over the younger group through social activities.

One year the older group decided to secure dominance once and for all and arranged to hold a grand ball. The younger group met the challenge through its determination to hold a ball the same evening that would be even more grand.

Through various tactics the younger group won and before the evening was over the older group joined their festivities.

The younger group, pleased over its victory, then decided to form a more permanent organization and so established the union. Membership was expanded to include others from Cleveland's Hungarian community.

Though the years, the membership has come to include a number of judges, politicians, lawyers, doctors, dentists and businessmen.

Heading the committee planning the centennial celebration is Norman Frankel. Co-chairmen are Gloria Friedman and Sue Miller. Assisting on the committee are Charles Friedman, Marty Wald, Irv Heiser, AL Seslow, Bill Walters, Art Tepper, Leonard Biederman, Alvin Roth, Warren Miller, Armand Brondfield, Phyllis Biederman and Frieda Slon.