Hundreds of children and parents joined the official Purim party on Sunday. The event was hosted by Shalom, the organization of the Bulgarian Jews.
Tiny one-year-olds, primary school kids and teenagers enjoyed the big celebration, dressed in costumes. One girl came as Lord Voldemort, another as a ladybug, a little boy came as a monkey, yet another one as a cowboy, and one was an unidentifiable character. Hardly any of the many costumes appeared twice.
There were lots of tasks for the smaller children. They tried to shave balloons until they burst, they shot little arrows at targets made of paper, and took part in sweepstakes. Many of the children ran around in the hall, others clung to their parents and watched the activities.
Alexander Oscar, the President of Shalom, came to the celebration with his wife, his tiny daughter and his son. He said he remembered coming to Purim celebrations as a child, at the same Jewish community building in the heart of Sofia.
There were truckloads of chocolate cake for everyone. Also numbers were picked. The child who had the right number would win a prize.
The Bulgarian television channel Nova TV was at the event and interviewed some of the participating kids.
Apart from celebrations of this kind, many other regular activities are being organized by Shalom. This includes anything from Tango dancing for seniors to huge summer camps for children of all ages.
Purim is a traditional Jewish holiday. It commemorate the salvation of the Jews in the Achaemenid Persian Empire.
The Jewish community in Bulgaria has some 5000 members today. That is because most of the Bulgarian Jews, up to 50,000 of them, made Aliyah in 1948 and the following years, by moving to a young state called Israel.
Since the collapse of communism, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and many other organizations, including the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, have helped the Bulgarian Jewish community to get back on its feet.
The entire history of the Bulgarian Jews, in detail, can be studied in the book “Bulgarian Jews: Living History”, the English version of which will be released on March 10th, 2018. A Bulgarian version will be added a bit later.
The book will be available at Shalom in Sofia, at Sofia Synagogue and at Amazon Europe.