Guest Author: Robbie Cheadle ~ The Great Synagogue

Dohány Street Synagogue


The Dohány Street Synagogue also known as the Great Synagogue, is found in in Erzsébetváros, the 7th district of Budapest, Hungary.

An incredibly beautiful building, it was built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish Revival style with onion shaped gilded domes. The whole building is decorated with eight-pointed stars as can be seen in the picture below.

Above the main entrance gate of the Dohany synagogue the inscription in Hebrew: “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.”

The Dohány Street Synagogue complex consists of the Great Synagogue, the Heroes’ Temple, the graveyard, the Memorial and the Jewish Museum and constituted the border of the Budapest Ghetto.

Some interesting facts about the Dohány Street Synagogue

  1. The Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. It seats up to 3 000 people.
  2. Above the front gate, there is a rose-window, which is the church’s main source of light. The windows on each side of this resemble the two tables on which Moses has written the Ten Commandments.
  3. the Dohány Street Synagogue keeps Torah scrolls in the ark of the synagogue in accordance with the Jewish custom. A lot of these are from synagogues that were destroyed during the Holocaust.
  4. The Dohány Street Synagogue differs from other synagogues in the fact that it has pipe organs and a cemetery. It is not customary to have a cemetery next to a synagogue, but this one was established as a direct result of the approximately 8 000 to 10 000 people who died in the adjacent Budapest Ghetto. Two thousand of the people who did in the ghetto are buried in this cemetery.
  5. During the Sabbath, no work and no fire are allowed, which means that using electricity and operating heating systems is forbidden. As a result, the caretaker of the Dohány Street Synagogue cannot be Jewish. In addition, a Jew cannot play the organ on the Sabbath and music cannot be played inside the synagogue on this day. This problem was solved by separating the organ and the choir from the ‘sacred’ sections, so that the music comes from “outside”.

Tree of life

Behind the Great Synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial Park which includes the Tree of life memorial which commemorates the lives of the 5 000 Holocaust victims who are buried in the vicinity of the park.  It takes the form of a metal willow tree which is the symbol of mourning for Hungarian Jews. The names of victims are inscribed on its leaves.

Do you notice anything else about this memorial? Tell me in the comments.


Whispers of the Past edited by Kaye Lynne Booth


A paranormal anthology with nine stories from six authors, including the winning story in the 2019 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest, A Peaceful Life I’ve Never Known, by Jeff Bowles.

Contributing authors

Kaye Lynne Booth,   Roberta Eaton Cheadle – 2 stories,

Julie Goodwen,   Laurel McHargue – 2 stories,

Stevie Turner,   Jeff Bowles.

About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Find and follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Writes Blog   Amazon Author Page    Twitter    Facebook

Books by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

NEVERGATE draft 1Through the Nethergate

Roberta Eaton Cheadle   TSL Publications

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at

Tell me a story…

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!





About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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60 Responses to Guest Author: Robbie Cheadle ~ The Great Synagogue

  1. tidalscribe says:

    What a beautiful building, I didn’t know anything about the synagogue; you certainly saw a lot on your visit to Budapest Robbie. I’m afraid I didn’t notice anything else about the memorial tree, I hope someone else comes up with the answer

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is a most extraordinary building, Janet, and visiting it is an intensely emotional experience. I didn’t take any pictures of the mass graves as Gregory believes it is disrespectful and I like to respect his views, but it was hugely overwhelming. Have a look at the Torah? Do you notice anything now?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Janet, I have explained what our tour guide told us about the Torah in my comment to Darlene below. Sharon’s comment also presents a beautiful possible interpretation which I actually prefer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating… Must share!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Sue, for sharing this post about the Great Synagogue. My visit to this building was incredibly emotionally overwhelming and I will never forget it.


  4. Darlene says:

    I wish I had visited this place when I was in Budapest. I would have found it emotional as well. I burst into tears when I saw the shoes beside the river. So very sad. The tree of life is amazing. One side of the Torah is filled in and the other is empty. Does that have any special meaning?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Darlene, it was a very memorable visit and tour. The Torah is blank and my understanding about this from our tour guide is that it indicated a loss of faith and feeling of being deserted by God as a nation during WWII. This what he told our tour group. I like Sharon’s interpretation below as well. That is a lovely interpretation of what the artist meant with this work.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This post is fascinating, Robbie, but also made me feel sad for all the losses connected to the synagog. The Tree of Life, a “weeping” willow, is a beautiful but forlorn memorial. Thanks for the post and thanks for hosting, Sue. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Prior to this visit to the synagogue, Diana, my knowledge of the Holocaust was rather limited to what happened in Germany and Poland. I read a book about WWII in Denmark last year and that opened my eyes about what happened in that country in relation to their Jewish population which was also very heroic and admirable. The devastation of the Jewish population in Budapest and Hungary was not known to me and it was quite traumatic to visit these memorials.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Stunning photos, Robbie. They gave me goosebumps- especially the Tree of Life, whose silver branches feel cold and dead to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mary Smith says:

    It must have been an incredibly emotional place to visit, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. acflory says:

    I was born in Budapest, and left when I was three so I don’t know much about my place of birth. I’ve been back a number of times as an adult, but that was mostly for family things. I wish I’d known about this amazing synagogue while I was there. If I ever go again, I’ll make sure to visit and pay my respects.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Meeks, I really recommend a visit to this wonderful historical tribute to the Holocaust. It is enlightening and instructive. The Jewish Museum is attached to the synagogue and was also fascinating and interesting. I like to learn more about other peoples faiths and customs as it brings understanding and tolerance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • acflory says:

        Totally agree re the understanding and tolerance, Robbie. I wish we could make travel mandatory for everyone. Might reduce the ridiculous ‘othering’ that humans practise through ignorance.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Robbie’s travelogues always make feel as though I were right there!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you for this wonderful article about the Great Synagogue in Budapest. I used to teach art, and the sixth grade architecture unit was to draw one of the synagogues of Europe, from photos of course. Despite that this particular synagogue is so intricate and complex, its beauty always attracted at least one young artist every year.
    The Torah is called the Tree of Life, a symbolic reference to its governance in Jewish lives. By following the commandments, one approaches a sacred life. A Torah scroll is parchment on which the Hebrew words of Torah are written, and it’s stretched across wooden rollers. These rollers are also called etz chayim, trees of life, as they support the words of Adonai.
    The Torah in the sculpture is blank; only the armature exists. There is no parchment and no words, suggesting that the innocent people who were killed must study their Torah in the World to Come. We who remain are bereft of their contributions and companionship, and the tree weeps for our loss.
    My opinion entirely, I’ll have to look up the sculpture and see what the artist intended.
    Robbie, I think the name change to reflect your adult books is a good idea. Congratulations on your writing achievements, and best wishes on your future endeavors.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Sharon, for your lovely and interesting comment. Your idea is wonderful and I love it. Our tour guide said that the emptiness of the Torah illustrated a loss of faith and feeling of abandonment by God of the Jewish people during WWII. This is what we were told and was incredibly sad for me although quite understandable. I have been very fortunate as a good friend of mine is Jewish and we have attended a hair cutting ceremony for one of her children and two of her children’s Bar mitzvah’s. They were both fascinating and the ladies were so helpful in explaining the traditions and culture. I am grateful I had these opportunities to lean more about the Jewish faith.

      Liked by 4 people

  11. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:
    I am over at Sue Vincent’s blog today with a post about the Great Synagogue in Budapest. An incredibly beautiful building with a tragic past, it was a most memorable visit for me. Thank you, Sue, for hosting me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. olganm says:

    Fascinating, Robbie, and it must have been a very touching experience. I visited Budapest many years back, but it was a very brief visit and we never went to see the synagogue. It seems Tony Curtis funded the willow tree and a memorial to his father. Thanks for sharing it with us, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. olganm says:

    And thanks, Sue!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Daniel Kemp says:

    Wonderful photography and as for that metal tree, I have no words to improve on that image.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you Robbie how interesting and tragic. A beautiful monument and place of worship. David has been to Budapest for work but I have never been.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Thank you for this wonderful information, and the amazing images too. Its from the country of my ancestors.Since years i am in research how the come from the wonderful Hungary to this place here. 😉 Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is interesting, Michael. Hungary has an interesting and often violent history. Your ancestors probably fled Hungary at some point and resettled. The Mongol army apparently killed thousands of Hungarians when they invaded in the 13th century. OUr taxi driver told us all about it. He was very knowledgeable about his countries history.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. That Tree of Life memorial is beautiful. I must ask my mom if they’ve been there. Thanks for shading Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I hadn’t heard of this synagogue before, so I appreciated learning about it from your post, as well as the insights from other readers’ comments. I’m wondering if the willow sculpture made a sound when a breeze blew through it.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Teri Polen says:

    Beautiful building – and it must be huge to seat that many people. The Tree of Life gave me goosebumps – so sad, but a lovely tribute.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Jennie says:

    Wonderful post and photos. The Tree of Life is quite moving.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Jim Borden says:

    thank you for such an informative and entertaining post. If we get back to Europe, Budapest is at the top of our list of places to visit. And now we have s specific destination to explore!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Vashti Q says:

    What a beautiful and fascinating synagogue. The Tree of Life memorial is amazing, too. Thank you for the pictures and commentary, Robbie. Thanks for hosting, Sue!

    Liked by 1 person

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