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Valley Beit Midrash - Jewish Bulgaria: A Virtual Sephardic Journey

Monday, March 6, 2023 13 Adar 5783

1:00 PM - 2:00 PMVirtual


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 neighbors. Our final destination will be Jaffa, Israel, where large numbers of Bulgarian Jews settled between 1948 and 1952.


Joseph Benatov holds a doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He has written on competing national narratives of the saving of the Bulgarian Jews during World War II; Jewish identity politics in Philip Roth’s early fiction; and the sensationalism of U.S. representations of life behind the Iron Curtain. He has translated fiction, poetry, and drama, including several plays staged to wide acclaim in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is also the English translator of the contemporary Bulgarian novel Zift. Every summer Dr. Benatov leads Jewish heritage trips to the Balkans.

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Sun, February 25 2024 16 Adar I 5784