Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sofia Synagogue = 100 Year Anniversary

The Sofia synagogue was first dedicated on September 9, 1909, by Bulgarian Tzar Ferdinand. This week marked the synagogue's 100th year, and we attended two special events.

Last night there was a concert given by the Sofia Symphony Orchestra at the Bulgaria Hall auditorium. In addition to what is listed on the program, it was quite moving when the orchestra played "Hava Nagila" and "Heveinu Shalom Aleichem'>


Tonight was the ceremony at the synagogue itself. We had visited the synagogue before, and when my mother visited, we attended Saturday morning services. But both times the synagogue had been undergoing renovations. Well, the renovations are finally finished, and the building is sparkling and very beautiful, both inside and out.


In attendance was the President of Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov, a former prime minister, many ambassadors, important rabbis from around the world, and clergymen from Bulgaria. Also in attendance were many members of the Bulgarian Jewish community.

Below, President Parvanov arrives:


There were many speeches, some in Bulgarian, and others in English and Russian, translated into Bulgarian. Prominent mention was given to the role of Bulgaria's leaders during the Second World War in saving the Jews of the country. One rabbi mentioned that it was truly appreciated that Bulgaria had respected us, the Jews, at our most difficult time. Now, with the help of the Bulgarian government, the community has been able to restore its grand, central synagogue. A very moving part of the program was when the synagogue was presented with a new Sefer Torah, which was marched down the aisle and placed into the Aron Kodesh.


Below, former Bulgarian prime minister Simeon Saxe-Cobourg Gotha, whose father was the king responsible for saving the Jews of the country from the horrors of deportation into the Nazi death camps.


Jodie with our friends Vicky and Victor, and American Rabbi Andrew Becker who spoke at the ceremony.


A look at the synagogue from the building across the street.


Jodie with our friends Shlomo and Sima.


It was a very moving experience to be part of the Sofia Jewish community as it marked this centennial celebration.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ellis it was very touching for me to read it. I look at the photos and I think about my grandmother and her family.
    Iris

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