Bulgaria: President Radev takes part in Hannukah ceremony at Sofia Synagogue

Written by on December 17, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria: President Radev takes part in Hannukah ceremony at Sofia Synagogue

The President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Roumen Radev, and other politicians joined the Jewish congregation of Sofia for its Hannukah celebration at the Central Synagogue on Sunday evening. Having taking office in January, this was Radev’s first participation in the main Hanukkah ceremony.

In his speech Radev said the Bulgarian Jews had always stood by their compatriots for a free and strong Bulgaria. The rescue of the Bulgarian Jews in 1943 had not been a coincidence, Radev said.

US Ambassador Eric Rubin (left) with Shalom’s President Alexander Oscar. 

“If extreme nationalist and extremist political perceptions try to steal our lives, rewrite our history, or infect our children with hatred, then I assure you that we will be together again in the struggle for good and justice,” Radev told the Jewish congregation of Sofia.

“In the days of Hanukkah, candlesticks placed on windows sills do not only illuminate Jewish homes. Their light shows us that our greatest miracle of living together in peace, reciprocity, and understanding is in our hands,” he said.

The head of Shalom, the organisation of the Jews of Bulgaria, Dr  Alexander Oscar, thanked Radev for coming and therefore continuing the tradition of Bulgarian Presidents lighting Hanukkah candles at Sofia’s synagogue.

Oscar said that the attention of Europe and the world would be directed to Bulgaria in 2018, because of the country’s turn at the EU Presidency, but also because of the 75th anniversary of the events which occurred in 1943.

Back then, the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews to Nazi Germany’s death camps was avoided, thanks to courageous Bulgarians, among them Bulgarian Orthodox Church leaders and other non-Jewish citizens. At the same time, thousands of Jews from Thrace and Macedonia were deported. They were transported through Bulgarian territory and murdered by the Nazis.

He said that Bulgaria had learned its lessons from the past and was ready to look forward to a bright future, in which Bulgarians would stand together in order to defend the good name of their country. He appealed to everyone to work for a better world of peace and understanding.

Israel’s Ambassador to Bulgaria, Irit Lillian, was also part of the ceremony. So was Eric Rubin, the Ambassador of the United States of America to Bulgaria.

Selfies with President Radev were very popular. 

After the ceremony, President Radev talked to congregation members. The head of state also became part of quite a few selfies.







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