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74
NINTH ANNUAL REPORT.
very indifferent circumstances. In the army, where service is compulsory, there are already some Jewish subordinate officers, but though they serve willingly, and are proud enough of their uniforms, their promotion is slow for two reasons. They do not take to the army as a profession, and they are not as conversant with the Bulgarian language as they should be. One beneficial result, at any rate, seems likely to follow from this compulsory service in the army. For whereas a year or two ago marriages at the ages of 14 and 15 were by no means unusual amongst rich as well as poor Jews, they are now less frequent.
M. Salamon Taggai and the Chief Rabbi showed me over the school. It is a fine capacious building intended for 500 boys, and is on the point of completion. The rooms are light and airy. The staff of teachers is, I believe, hardly adequate to meet the requirements, of the pupils. The French master was on his way from the Alliance Israelite of Paris. Eight Rabbis complete the number of tutors. They simply teach Hebrew and Spanish. This school receives no government support. The national elementary schools are open to the Jews, but they naturally prefer to make use of their own. It is therefore to be hoped that proper arrangements for the study of the Bulgarian language will not be neglected. Many children of the rich are sent to Paris and Vienna to be educated. The Jews set a good example by universally closing their' places of business on the day of rest and holidays. The Chief Rabbi, Almosnino, is much respected as a tolerant man of unblemished character. There are two large but untidy looking synagogues in this town.
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III.—eastern roumelia.
At present, the state of Eastern Roumelia is not as satisfactory as that of Bulgaria proper, and we find that the condition of the Jews there is also less satisfactory than that of the Jews in the neighbouring principality. Phi'lippopolis is, I believe, the largest Jewish centre. There are, or were, other-towns with a slight Jewish element, such as Carlova, Tatar-Bazardjik and Kesanlik. In many cases, the Jews have fled from the Russian invaders and their Bulgarian allies to Constantinople, Philippopolis or Bucharest, fearing ill-treatment. The opinion I formed of the general sentiment of the people and their rulers towards the Jews was agreeably verified by the interesting conversation I had with the head of the Church,,
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