Young people from across the country showed exclusive interest in the literary contest titled “Jews and Bulgarians – two ethnic groups, one country, one love”. The contest was announced by the Center for Jewish-Bulgarian Partnership Aleph on September 15, and in a short time was joined by more than 60 students from over 28 locations in the country, including Sofia, Plovdiv, Ruse, Montana, Burgas, Razgrad, Dimitrovgrad, Gabrovo Gorna Oryahovitsa, Tervel, Apriltsi, the villages Nikolaevka and Pletena, Petrich, Gotse Delchev and many others. Bulgaria’s young people proved once again that nothing is forgotten and that they are not afraid to travel back in time and to relive the most tragic moments in Bulgarian history.

This is the second student contest organized by the Center Aleph to stimulate the interest of young people in crucial moments from our country’s past and make them draw conclusions about the present. In 2013, several dozen students entered the contest titled “Whoever saves one life, saves the whole world”.

This year contestants are considerably more in number and the “geography” is more extended. The initiative for the promotion of the contest among high school students was joined by a number of media and many Education Inspectorates in the country.

“We put nearly no limits for the participants. They could get involved in the contest with an essay, a short story, or research to describe the participation of Jews in the ranks of the Bulgarian army, their sacrifice and patriotism during the Liberation, the Balkan and the First World Wars. The only requirement for them was to include in their works examples of acts of courage and friendship that illustrate human links between the two ethnic groups and that later became the grounds for one of the most heroic acts of the Bulgarian nation – the rescue of Jews from deportation during World War II,” said Alberta Alkalay, Chair of Center Aleph.

Especially for the contest, Aleph created on its site http://alef-bg.org the first ever electronic library with numerous resources related to the participation of Jews in the wars of Bulgaria, giving the participants the opportunity to learn detailed historical facts and get acquainted with authentic documents to help them compose their works.

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The jury is now facing the difficult task of evaluating and ranking the students’ research. Its members include Mihaylina Pavlova – editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Jewish News”, Rumen Leonidov – poet and publisher, Assen Yordanov – journalist and Director of the site Bivol.bg.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the end of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah and on the eve of the Christian Christmas. The author of the work ranked first will receive a cash prize of 250 levs, the second place will get 200 levs and the award for the third place is 150 levs. For the other distinguished works, the organizers have provided many tangible incentive awards, books and other surprises. The most interesting student research will be published in leading Bulgarian media.

 

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