Despina Staneva, President of the Council of Jewish Women in Bulgaria, reports on a year of exciting activities in Bulgaria, including a multinational festival of cuisine and a seminar on preventing violence against women.
On March 7th, on the eve of the International Women’s Day, we organized a thematic evening where we discussed the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. We had invited the President of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and we discussed with him the rights of women in Bulgaria, the current legislation and about the likely outcome of signing the Convention by the Bulgarian Government. We also released a statement supporting the signing of this Convention by the Bulgarian Government. The discussion was followed by a reception with light refreshments to celebrate Women’s Day.
During 2018 we also took part in an international Holocaust Remembrance initiative called “We Remember” – click here to read our report on the activities of the Council of Jewish Women in Bulgaria to mark the 75th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews from being sent to the Nazi death camps.
Bulgarian Multinational Cuisine Festival
The Council of Jewish Women in Bulgaria, together with Krug (Circle) Art Movement, the Municipality of Kardzhali and the Shalom Organization of Jews in Bulgaria, helped with the organization of the First Multinational Cuisine Festival in the town of Kardzhali. Our members actively participated in the presentation of Jewish customs, holidays, traditional dishes and traditional Sephardic songs.
At a Sephardic dinner, we met a group of women from Israel who were interested in the history of the Bulgarian Jewish community. We introduced them to elderly Holocaust survivors who shared their memories, and also to the active women from the community and to the leaders of clubs and initiatives.
The women of the Council participate in all volunteer activities of the community – collecting paper, deleting swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti from the walls of buildings in Sofia, helping to celebrate 70 years of Israel at the Jewish school, visiting elderly people and others.
We set up a committee to examine the needs of socially disadvantaged members of the Jewish community and, after reporting to us, we will decide what we can do to help them. Within the community we regularly shared information about campaigns for free mammography examinations, osteoporosis tests, etc.
We sent our representatives Masha Gavrailova and Rina Zaharieva to participate in the ICJW Sydney Convention. After their return, at a General Meeting they presented detailed and interesting reports about the lectures, as well as their meetings and experiences there.
The legal registration of the CJWB Women in Bulgaria was renewed in compliance with the amendments to the Bulgarian legislation on the NGOs. We also created a closed Facebook group where we post all news concerning the activity of the Council, and we share and discuss our current topics of interest.