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September 24, 2019 9:32 am

Bulgaria Opens First Jewish School in Two Decades

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Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Photo: Pexels. – Bulgaria just opened its first Jewish school in 20 years.

The Ronald S. Lauder Day School in Sofia, the country’s capital, started classes on Sept. 15, named for the president of the World Jewish Congress and a major philanthropist to Jewish causes.

Currently, an estimated 6,000 Jews reside in Bulgaria.

“What do we want from the school? We want the children to be proud of being Jewish. In order to be proud, they have to know what they’re proud of, and why,” said Lauder at the school’s inauguration.

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Previously, the school’s 88 students, all under the age of 12, learned at the Lauder-ORT No. 134 “Dimcho Debelianov” Jewish School in Sofia—a public school that, thanks to the Lauder Foundation, incorporated some Jewish curriculum, including Hebrew-language classes.

In 2010, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, with the Shalom Bulgarian Jewish community, founded a Jewish kindergarten, which now includes dozens of children.

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