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2 Synagogues in Bulgaria

Sephardi Synagogue

Central Sofia Synagogue

16 Ekzarh Josef str, Sofia, 1000, , Bulgaria
Operation Hours: Daily Services,Fri Evening Services,Shabbat Morning Services,High Holidays,Tourist Visits
Phone: 359 2 9831273   Fax: 359 2 9835085

Rightly described Central Synagogue in Sofia as the pride of the whole Bulgarian Jewry. It is a symbol of the Jewish community in Bulgaria for more than a century. This is the largest Sephardic (Spanish-Jewish) synagogue in Europe. Central Synagogue is the only Jewish house of prayer in Sofia. She is currently undergoing restoration and the main compartment is closed. The usual services are held in the small prayer room near the entrance. Besides a prayer room in the Synagogue houses the offices of the Central Israelite Spiritual Council, and the second floor has a small museum. The history of the construction of the Synagogue is as dramatic as its size.Construction began in 1903 when the Jewish community was reorganized in French Consistoire model. The reorganization was carried out by an extremely active new Chief Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis and leaders of the Sofia Jewish community: the young and energetic Ezra Tadzher and venerable Avram Davidjon Levy. Friedrich Grunanger, the most famous architect in Bulgaria at the time, was selected to design the Synagogue. The preferred location is in the center of town, on land which previously was a very old synagogue - the synagogue "Ahava i Hesed" candelabra (Heb. 'love and kindness'). Construction began on November 13, 1905 with a ceremony for the groundbreaking. The famous brass chandelier, weighing over 2200 kg, large candelabra (Heb. "menorah"), and other parts of decorations are bought in Vienna. Finally, after four years of construction, financial crises and debates in the community, the synagogue is completed.September 9, 1909 is the date when the Central Synagogue of Sofia was officially opened. Central Synagogue immediately became a symbol of Bulgarian Jewry. There are the seats of the Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria and the Chief Rabbi of Sofia. Also there have been housed and senior rabbinic tribunal - Beth Din. There was stored and the famous Jewish library of the Sofia community with its priceless collection of medieval rabbinic writings. Since opening since the Central synagogue regularly conducts religious services except for the period 1943-1944, when most Jews from Sofia were deported in the province. Fortunately, the synagogue was not desecrated by the Nazis or local fascists. During the bombing of Sofia in 1944 the Synagogue was hit several times. The balcony and several columns in the main hall were partially destroyed. Exposed to the weather, subtle and exquisite wall decorations were damaged. The bombing also destroyed the famous library of Jewish community, most of the most valuable Jewish books burned. In the last few years launched a major campaign to raise funds for the restoration of the building to its former glory be returned. The most prominent Bulgarian artists using original plans and under the direction of architect of the Jewish community, work daily on the project. The restoration was initiated after a generous Israeli foundation "Doron". 

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Chabad Lubavitch Synagogue

Chabad Jewish Center Sofia

38, Stara Planina, Sofia, , Bulgaria
Operation Hours: Daily Services,Fri Evening Services,High Holidays,Tourist Visits
Phone: 359 2 9443380   Fax: 359 2 9443562


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