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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia

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Bulgaria and linguistic matters of Bulgarian Jews

Samy Polikar1


Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2006, Issue 179, Pages 101–113, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/IJSL.2006.028, June 2006

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This article aims to trace the presence of Jews on Bulgarian territory since ancient times without subscribing to preconceived theses. Naturally, the issue of Jewish migration cannot be discussed without due consideration for the relations with the respective states and their peoples: Byzantium, the mediaeval Bulgarian empires, the Ottoman Empire, the post-Liberation Kingdom of Bulgaria and contemporary Bulgaria. It focuses on the historical periods which have had a direct bearing on the present state of the small Jewish community in Bulgaria today. This community has several distinctive features that are immediately obvious. In Bulgaria there are no adherents of various Israelite religious sects, even though the false messiah Sabbatai Zwi, whose followers ultimately adopted Islam, lived on Bulgarian territory. A Chabad rabbi from the US recently went to Bulgaria, but Chasidism has never had followers in Bulgaria. Despite the very high level of integration of Jews into Bulgarian society and the comparatively strong goodwill and tolerance of Bulgarians for Jews, Zionism became popular very early on and has undoubtedly been one of the factors for the emigration of around 90% of the Jews to Israel; the contemporary Jewish community in Bulgaria is increasingly bonding with the State of Israel and departing from the traditions brought from Spain.

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