Jewish Bulgaria:

A Virtual Sephardic Journey

About this talk

Join us for a dynamic interactive trip through Bulgaria's rich Jewish heritage. Our virtual tour will make stops in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria's largest cities, and will take us inside the sumptuous Neo-Moorish Sofia synagogue. Other highlights along the way include the medieval capital, the grand Rila Monastery, and the mountain town of Samokov, home to the affluent Arie dynasty. You will have a chance to learn about the history and culture of the Bulgarian Sephardic Jews. We will discuss the historical details surrounding the survival of 50,000 Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust, and we will note some of the most prominent politicians, clergymen, and intellectuals who stood up for their Jewish neighbours. Our final destination will be Jaffa, Israel, where large numbers of Bulgarian Jews settled between 1948 and 1952. Joseph will also share with participants personal family stories of growing up in Bulgaria and being part of the country's vibrant Jewish community.

About Joseph

Joseph Benatov holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He is originally from Bulgaria and a member of Sofia's Jewish community. Joseph has over 15 years of experience leading travelers across the Balkans, including UNESCO representatives, 92nd Street Y visitors, JDC board members, and Anti-Defamation League officials. He lectures regularly on the history of Jewish life in Bulgaria and on Balkan Sephardic culture. Every summer Joseph leads Sephardic trips to the Balkans. You can find out more at


10% of the profits will be donated to the Bulgarian translation of Saul Mezan's book Le Juifs espagnols en Bulgarie, (Sofia, 1925) currently only availabe in French.

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General admission

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