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Kafka and the Jewish Agency

Two years! That's how long I've been submitting unequivocal proof I'm eligible for aliyah. Zero. That's how many responses I've received.

Is the Jewish Agency run by acolytes of Franz Kafka? 

For over two years, I have been periodically visiting the Jewish Agency office in Budapest trying to submit all the documents needed for my application for aliyah.

Born in Budapest at the Jewish Hospital in 1953, I come from an orthodox Jewish family. My mother survived Auschwitz, and my father survived Hungarian slave labor service in Ukraine.

I graduated from two orthodox Jewish schools in New York: Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway (in Brooklyn) and Rabbi Jacob Joseph High School (in Manhattan). 

I have brought to the Jewish Agency representative in Budapest the following documents:

  1. My mother’s Hungarian birth certificate showing the designation “Izr” (“Israelite,” in Hungarian abbreviation);
  2. My parents’ marriage certificate;
  3. My diplomas from the Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway and Rabbi Jacob Joseph High School;
  4. A photo album of my Bar Mitzvah;
  5. Pictures of my mother’s gravesite showing her name and date of death, in Hebrew.  

For reasons only Kafka might understand, I have not received any notification from the Jewish Agency that my application is acceptable. Actually, I have received no response at all, neither acceptance nor rejection. 

I am climbing the hill to the Castle. As Wikipedia says, “The Castle is a 1926 novel by Franz Kafka. In it a protagonist known only as ‘K.’ arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities who govern it from a castle supposedly owned by Count Westwest. Kafka died before he could finish the work, but suggested it would end with K. dying in the village, the castle notifying him on his death bed that his ‘legal claim to live in the village was not valid, yet, taking certain auxiliary circumstances into account, he was permitted to live and work there.’ Dark and at times surrealThe Castle is often understood to be about alienation, unresponsive bureaucracy, the frustration of trying to conduct business with non-transparent, seemingly arbitrary controlling systems, and the futile pursuit of an unobtainable goal.”

About the Author
Robert Kramer, PhD, is an existential psychoanalyst in Budapest. He is editor of Otto Rank's "A Psychology of Difference: The American Lectures" (Princeton University Press, 1996); co-editor, with E. James Lieberman, of "The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012); and author of "The Birth of Relationship Therapy: Carl Rogers Meets Otto Rank" (Psychosozial Press, 2022).
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