Bulgarian Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah, new year 5779
Bulgarian Jews were poised to join others all around the world in welcoming Rosh Hashanah, the new year 5779, with celebrations beginning on the evening of September 9 2018.
In capital city Sofia and in Plovdiv, prayer services were scheduled for the synagogues.
In a message on Facebook, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” noted that the beginning would be heralded, as is traditional, by the sound of the shofar, an instrument made from a ram’s horn.
“The time from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur is the most important for the Jews, 10 days in which every Jew should assess his actions in the past year, reflect on them and change his path,” the message said.
“We wish all our compatriots, in Bulgaria, in Israel and all over the world, Shana Tova u Metukah. May it be a good and sweet New Year,” Shalom said.
The World Jewish Congress said in a message: “With Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, just around the corner, we’re all about to receive twelve brand new months to make a difference. Use them wisely. Shavua tov and Shanah tovah!”
Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and a former foreign minister of Bulgaria, extended greetings on Rosh Hashanah in a message in Twitter, to all who celebrate the Jewish New Year in Israel and around the world: “May it bring #peace, health and joy to you and your loved ones”.
European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “Rosh Hashanah is always a good time to look back at the year before, to review our deeds, to be able to reflect, but also to revive our engagement for causes we believe in and adjust our path accordingly”.
“It was a challenging year for Europe and its Jewish communities as our societies were put to the test again. We witnessed demonstrations of Jewish communities in several countries standing against anti-Semitism and claiming their rights as citizens. Europe is built on the richness of our diversity and the unity of our fundamental values. That is why I have great confidence in our collective future,” Timmermans said.
“The European Commission’s relationship with Jewish communities, organizations and representatives has never been closer. This alliance makes us stronger in the battle against hatred, extremism and anti-Semitism,” he said.
He said that he recalled with shock and sadness the horrific murder of Mireille Knoll who survived the roundup at Vel d’Hiv in 1942, but not anti-Semitism in Europe in 2018.
“The European Commission was very clear that there can be no justification and we stand in full solidarity with the European Jewish communities in condemning these vile attacks in the strongest possible way. Jews should never wonder whether it is safe to display their identity in their own neighborhood, city or country.”
Europe must remain a place where Jewish life can flourish and Jews can freely practice their faith without fear or restrictions. “It does not matter where the hatred comes from, whether it is right-wing, left-wing, Islamist extremists or whether it comes masked as anti-Zionism, we all have the duty to stand up and speak out,” Timmermans said.