The Religious Community of the Jews in Bulgaria is a voluntary association of individuals professing the Jewish religion (Judaism), conducting worship services, religious rites and ceremonies, and aims to support, enrich and disseminate the spiritual values of Judaism.
The Jewish (Israeli) religion is a set of beliefs and principles that recognize Torah and Talmud as ethical norms of behaviour.
CENTRAL ISRAELI SPIRITUAL COUNCIL
The Jewish religion currently includes the religious community and its religious institution, the Central Israeli Spiritual Council, which is the successor to the Board of Trustees of the synagogue of the Chief Rabbinate in the country, dealing with these activities in the years before World War II. The Central Israeli Spiritual Council is registered in accordance with the Law on Religious Denominations (Държавен вестник бр. 120/2002 г.) as a Jewish religious community, which has the status of a legal entity, with its own governing bodies and is subject to its laws and the regulations in Bulgaria that concern the freedom of worship and its protection.
The Jewish religion has local divisions of the Central Israeli Spiritual Council in settlements where Jews live. They are legal entities with headquarters in the respective cities and are registered under the procedure of Art. 19, para. 2 of the Religious Denominations Act. Every division is the local Spiritual Council. The chairpersons of these boards are part of the extended composition of the Central Israeli Spiritual Council.
The Central Israeli Spiritual Council is elected by the General Assembly for a four years term and each member can be re-elected for no more than two consecutive terms. According to the requirements of the Israeli religion, its members must be Jews who attend the prayer rituals or assist in the strengthening, development and dissemination of the Israeli spiritual values.
The Central Israeli Spiritual Council constitutes of eleven people, including the chairman. There is also an extended composition which includes all the chairmen of the local spiritual councils that is convened to a meeting at least once per year.
The Central Israeli Spiritual Council, as a legal entity, has the right to own movable and immovable property, to accept donations and wills in its favour, which do not contradict the norms of the Israeli religion and the laws in Bulgaria.
The Council takes care of the spiritual life of the Jewish community, manages the existing synagogues in both Sofia and Plovdiv and provides a number of services to its members.
Robert Djerassi is among the chairmen that served the longest in the Central Israeli Spiritual Council. He was elected for the first time in 2003. He is an expert in the field of education and has worked as an advisor to the former Minister of Education Prof. Todor Tanev (2014-2016) on the issues of integration in education. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Committee on Antisemitism, Xenophobia and Hate Embezzlement at the Executive Office of OJB "Shalom" and a representative of the department "Analysis, prevention and international cooperation" of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination.
The current chairman of the Central Israeli Spiritual Council is Sofia Cohen, elected in 2015, she is an ex officio member of the National Council of Religious Communities in Bulgaria. She is a specialist in marketing and advertising, has extensive experience in the advertising industry and in the planning and implementation of communication strategies, including being in a leadership position. The first woman president of the Jewish religious community in Bulgaria, she is actively involved in the fight against hate speech, xenophobia and works in the field of interfaith dialogue and mutual tolerance in society.
MEMBERS OF CISC
Membership and Araha
Every Jew can be a member of the religious community as long as they are of lawful age according to the Jewish traditions - 13 years for the boys (Bar Mitzvah) and 12 years for the girls (Bat Mitzvah).
Each member of the religious community pays АРАХА (annual instalment) for which he receives a document. This gives him the right to participate in the election of the Central Israeli Spiritual Council and to be elected after attaining the age of 18. Members of the religious community who are entitled to vote and to be elected, form the General Assembly of the religious community.