Austrian Jewry Gets New Leader

With Oskar Deutsch slated to be elected president of Austria’s Jewish community on Tuesday evening, a new generation will take over the reins.

Deutsch will become the first president born in the country after World War II of the roughly 8,000-member community. The departure of his predecessor, Dr. Ariel Muzicant, who was born in Haifa in 1952 and served as president for 14 years, has brought a mix of transition and continuity.

Seated in a Vienna restaurant, Deutsch told The Jerusalem Post ahead of the election that he “it is very important for me to maintain the unified Jewish community.” Austrian Jewry encompasses members from Central Asia, Georgia, Russia, Israel, Hungary and Western Europe.

Deutsch has served the community for the past 14 years as vice president, and has been active in it for 20. He played a key role in organizing the 2011 European Maccabiah Games in Vienna. “There were 2,000 athletes and 3,000 attendees” at the event, he said. “We sang ‘Hatikva.’ An Israeli flag hung over city hall.”


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