The new US Ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Eric Rubin officially visited the Jewish Cultural Centre on April 28 this year at the invitation of the leadership of OJB “Shalom”. In a good mood by the warm welcome, Ambassador Rubin said curious fact that accidentally or not, four US ambassadors to Bulgaria after 1989 were Jewish, so he continues the good tradition.
Ambassador Rubin learned details of the various activities of the organization and the longstanding partnership between Shalom and international Jewish organizations as American Joint, Claims Conference, Foundations Ronald S. Lauder, ORT and others. A special invitation was made by the youths of BBYO, who will organize in Plovdiv in July a shabbat dinner with more than 100 participants from around the world. They invited H.E. Eric Rubin to be its special guest. From his side, Eric Rubin said that he hopes that his relations with the Bulgarian Jewish community will not only be official and he will not be here only as an ambassador, but also as a member. He already declared his readiness to join in this year’s Limmud seminar that traditionally take place in the autumn in the resort of Borovets.
The newly elected chairman of Shalom, Dr. Alexander Oscar briefly presented the priorities of the new leadership for the next four years. He stressed how important it is for the organization to keep the spirit of respect and continuity to assert its political neutrality to continue the policy of transparency in decision-making and to engage in significant social issues beyond the life of its members. The new chairman put particular emphasis on the role of formal and informal education in a Jewish community.
Ambassador Rubin praised the acomplished results in the field of social assistance programs from the series called “Evreiski jivot” and expressed willingness to include specific advices and ideas. He said “Shalom” and the US Embassy in Bulgaria can be mutually beneficial and gave examples of number of programs that prepare young people to apply for American universities or help students to go on summer work and travel programs.
A week before his visit to the Beit Am, Ambassador Rubin and his wife Nicole visited the Sofia Central Synagogue and the Jewish Museum next to it. They were fascinated by the beautiful building and heard with interest the details of its construction and restoration. A graduate of the Faculty of History at the University “Yale” and with in-depth knowledge of the region, acquired after numerous diplomatic missions in countries of the former Soviet Union, Ambassador Rubin asked questions about the nature of religious life before the changes in 1989. Rubin family belongs to the Reform congregation in his native New York and expressed readiness to assist the development of religious pluralism in our country.