There was a strong turnout for the first Festival of Jewish Culture, held outside the National Palace of Culture in Sofia on September 15 2013.
Visitors were introduced to Jewish traditions, cuisine, art, film and literature at the event, organised by Shalom, the organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria, with the support of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and a number of other organisations, including Sofia municipality.
The concept of the event was to give Bulgarian society the opportunity to better acquaint themselves with Bulgaria’s Jewish community in a way that organisers hope will become an annual tradition.
The event was attended by Israel’s ambassador in Sofia, Shaul Kamisa-Raz, and a number of leading members of the Jewish community.
Especially popular were the opportunity to join in learning to make hallah, the special braided bread that is an essential part of the Shabbat ritual. Bulgarian celebrity chef Uti Buchvarov took visitors through the preparation of traditional Jewish cuisine, and guests also had the chance to visit a replica of part of the Wailing Wall, and place papers with prayers, as is done in the original in Israel’s capital Jerusalem.
Musical attractions included performances by the Amsterdam Klezmer Band.
(Photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)