The Jerusalem Post

Ex-model left Hungary and became our social media guru – and she's single

 Noemi Szakács and Samuel the cat, living a Jewish life in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: Courtesy Noemi Szakács)
Noemi Szakács and Samuel the cat, living a Jewish life in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: Courtesy Noemi Szakács)

In Israel, Noemi Szakács became the social media guru behind The Jerusalem Post. But before this, she was a model, taking part in campaigns across Hungary and the world.

Before she was the woman behind The Jerusalem Post’s social media, Noemi Szakács spent years channeling the Jewish identity that she had not connected to until later in life. Born in Hungary, she grew up in Budapest and enjoyed the life she lived there, yet she felt a longing to live in her ancestral homeland, which grew stronger and stronger by the day. 

After celebrating her one-year anniversary at the Post, she largely credits the new beginnings and opportunities she’s been granted to her connection to her Jewish identity fostered in her teen years. At age 15, she began attending a local synagogue with her mother, who had recently begun studying Hebrew, and had found a rabbi who led a community that felt like she awakening a whole new side of herself. 

Szakács credited her community and a particularly relatable rabbi for helping her unlock the potential for a new type of education and lifestyle that she had yet to explore. There, she met families who contributed to the makeup of her small Budapest community, and she was able to embrace her family’s heritage. She felt connected in a whole new way.

At age 17, she took her first trip to Israel. She and her mother had been considering a move to Israel together. It was just an idea at the time, and if it were to happen, Noemi would have been around the age of military conscription. She decided to try out an army volunteer program through Sar-El that would give her an idea of what her life might be like if she were to enlist in the IDF. 


While serving during her volunteer month, Szakács was able to explore the breadth of Israel from North to South. She visited Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. She traveled up and down the country, and it gave her a taste of the rich culture that she would eventually call her own.

 MODELING IN ‘Joy’ Magazine, Hungary.  (credit: Oleg Borisuk)
MODELING IN ‘Joy’ Magazine, Hungary. (credit: Oleg Borisuk)

Although her mother remains in Hungary and the two never moved to Israel together, the experience they shared helped her to find her calling. Coming to Israel and seeing that she suddenly did not need to go so far out of her way to engage in the kind of lifestyle she wanted to live, with Judaism as a focal point, was not such a foreign concept.

Israel was still waiting for her through the years.

From modeling in Hungary to living a Jewish life in Israel

In Israel, Szakács became the social media guru behind The Jerusalem Post. But before her social media career, she was a model, taking part in campaigns across Hungary and eventually across the world. When the opportunity to break into the modeling industry came about, however, she was already moving toward a more Jewish-centered life. 

After traveling throughout Europe with a stint in China, she left her career as a model, something that only further encouraged her pursuit of Judaism and life in Israel. She ended her first career at 26, launching not only the next stage of her career but also the next stage of her life that would soon bring her to the Holy Land.


Modeling may have been a significant stage in her life for a time, but it was merely a stop on her way to a holistic Jewish life. Shortly after ending her modeling career, she went through her first giur – conversion – to further connect herself to halachic Jewish law. Her mother’s Jewish connection came through her father, Noemi’s grandfather, and she wanted to do all that she could to cover all the bases in her Jewish journey. 

Her initial conversion process took place in Hungary at the age of 26, and she underwent a repeat of the process through the Rabbinate in Israel. She finalized her official conversion process in February 2023.

Szakács made aliyah in November 2020 and knew it was the right move for her. She fell in love with the State of Israel and appreciated that she was able to finally live in a nation that could meet her religious needs. She no longer had to travel for miles to find kosher challah, she could finally live in a place where keeping Shabbat would be second nature. She was ready to call Israel home.

Her path to her social media career and what brought her to become such a crucial member of The Jerusalem Post’s staff, connecting senior editors with the breaking news desk and everything in between, was a matter of chance. Her university studies had focused on advertising, and she took on a position at a bakery in Budapest running their social media.

The bakery’s goods could sell themselves, but it would take Szakács’ unique creative perspective to help the cafe become a staple in the city.

Later on, her experience at the cafe proved invaluable, as she developed as a professional in the social media world, working for a digital agency in Budapest.

When she took the leap to move to Israel during the COVID pandemic, she worked remotely as a writer for a Jewish publication in Hungary. She contributed food blogs and recommendations based on her new experiences in the Holy Land and reported everything she could while finding her way in the country.

She’s been in Tel Aviv for the majority of the time that she has been living here, but she has also experienced life in other cities. Initially, she was enrolled in a residential ulpan program in Haifa but quickly learned that it was not the city for her. COVID made remote learning necessary, so she decided to try living in other cities to find her niche. She spent time in Netanya during isolation periods and found herself dealing with a classic trope of the oleh experience — a landlord who gave just a moment’s notice to evacuate her accommodation and come up with a quick and effective solution. 

She took lemons and made lemonade by relocating to Tel Aviv. She was looking for the stability of a community she knew she would be able to find there.

“I needed to be close to reliable people,” Szakács noted, citing a family she had grown close to in her short time in Israel. These people took her into their home when Hamas sent a barrage of rockets toward central Israel in May 2021, leaving Tel Aviv’s residents on edge. 

“I wanted and needed to be surrounded by people who portrayed the warmth of Israel,” she said. “People here are kindhearted and supportive, and this period of time really showed the best in the people here.”

Slowly but surely, the life she intended to have in Israel began to materialize. She found an apartment with a person who would become one of her best friends, landed a position at the Post, and embraced a Tel Aviv vegan lifestyle. There was just one last missing piece to her puzzle that she did not even know was missing.

A life-changing experience: Rescuing a helpless kitten on the side of the road

While on a trip over Passover to northern Israel, a road trip argument over a forgotten bathing suit resulted in her pulling to the side of the road to regroup. Szakács and her friend heard a faint crying sound, only to find a kitten on the side of the road. Though it was not what she was looking for, the moment the kitten was placed in her lap, she knew her life had changed forever. She had no choice but to take him in as her own and make him part of her family in Israel.

Rescuing a cat, whom she named Samuel, helped life in Israel feel more permanent. He became a family member for her in an unexpected way, serving as a reminder that even in the toughest of days, she was never going to be alone.

Israel was the place that she was meant to be — Israel was worth the struggle to find her way. All of the ups and downs of adjusting to bureaucracy, to finding her chosen family would prove to be worth it.

“Living in Israel allows me to connect with Judaism while also satisfying my curiosity about the culture, people, and lifestyle,” she added.

“It’s a multifaceted experience that goes beyond just exploring my faith.” ■

Noemi Szakács From Budapest to Tel Aviv, 2020