An Introduction to Bulgaria

The Jewish community in Bulgaria was established by Greek Jews in Sofia and grew when the Bulgarian state was founded in 681.

It is also noted in documents that Tsar Ivan Alexander (1331-71) had a Jewish wife. She converted to Christianity.

Rabbi Dosa Ajevani and the codifier of the Shulchan Aruch, Joseph Caro, both eminent men, had escaped Spain after the expulsion of Jews establishing themselves in this country.

By 1939 about 50,000 Jews lived in Bulgaria. Even though Bulgaria joined the war on the German side, the government and general population refused to allow all Bulgarian Jews to be deported. But even with this generosity and safety net, most of the community emigrated to Israel at war’s end The 10% who opted to remain were then under the communists government hence having little contact with the outside world. But since the fall of communism, synagogues in Sofia and Plovdlv have been reconstructed.

With an ageing community, only about 100 children attend the Shalom Organization’s Sunday school.