Sephardic Balkans: Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Greece
June 11-22, 2020
11 nights // 12 days
Travel program led by Dr. Joseph Benatov of the University of Pennsylvania
In 1943, Bulgaria complied with German demands and deported nearly 11,400 Jews from occupied territories in northern Greece and Yugoslavia (Macedonia). At the same time, Bulgaria resisted German pressures to deport the 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria. As we travel, we will analyze the historical context for these events and will experience firsthand the rich Sephardic history and culture of these Jewish communities.
Six overnights in Bulgaria, two in North Macedonia, and three in Thessaloniki (Salonika), Greece, will allow us to:
♦ Explore Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s two main cities, and meet their vibrant Jewish communities. Listen to the melodious Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) spoken – and sung! — by the older generation. Appreciate traditional Sephardi handiwork crafted by women of the “Blessed Hands” group. Savor classical Sephardic dishes.
♦ Navigate the streets and bazaars of North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, and visit the new Holocaust Memorial. Visit Bitola (Monastir) and its famous Jewish cemetery. Revel in the beauties of North Macedonia’s most spellbinding city-on-a-lake – Ohrid.