Jews from around World Honor Centennial of Sofia SynagogueCulture | September 9, 2009, Wednesday // 20:54| views
Representatives of all major religious communities in Bulgaria honored the celebrations for the 100th birthday of the Sofia synagogue. Photo by BGNES
Representatives of Jewish organizations from around the world together with many Bulgarians attended Wednesday evening the culmination of the celebrations of the 100 birthday of the Sofia synagogue.
The represented organizations included the European Jewish Committee, the Eurasian Jewish Congress, American Joint Jewish Committee, the Organization of Bulgarian Jews in Israel, the organization of Bulgarian Jews Shalom. The guests came from the USA, Russia, France, Belgium, Greece, Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Israel's delegation of about 50 people was the largest.
Bulgaria's President, Georgi Parvanov, who attended the ceremony, including in his capacity as the chair of the initiative committee for organizing the celebrations, received the gratitude of the speakers at the event for the help of the Bulgarian authorities for restoring the Sofia synagogue.
The Bulgarian governments have provided over BGN 720 000 over the recent years for the repair works of the synagogue which has been restored to its original condition for the first time since it was damaged in the Anglo-American bombardments of Sofia in 1943.
The celebrations at the synagogue were also attended by Bulgaria's former Tsar and former Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, whose grandfather, Tsar Ferdinand I, attended the opening of the synagogue on September 9, 1909, together with the whole royal family.
The Chair of the Eurasian Jewish Congress, Yosif Vizel, presented the Sofia synagogue with a Torah, which was welcomed to the temple with cheers.
The representatives of the various Jewish organizations, who held speeches in Bulgarian, Hebrew, English, and Russian, made sure to express their gratitude for the Bulgarian authorities for their help for the restoration of the synagogue; they also thanked the Bulgarian people for saving its entire Jewish population of 50 000 from deportation to the Nazi death camps.