Ambassadors to Bulgaria: Veliko Turnovo

Please enjoy this update written by two teen participants: Naava and Kati:

Ambassadors to Bulgaria began when 55 North American teens met 39 new European friends and spent an entire afternoon in various workshop and programs with the elderly of the Bulgarian Jewish Community. At this unique camp for the elderly, the teens met with Holocaust Survivors and engaged with community members. They play board games, learned traditional Bulgarian and Israeli dances and much more!The next morning we woke and began our daily routine, which includes a look at Jewish values rooted in text, which guide us as we build our community together. Each day we discover our multiple voices within our common tradition. We started as strangers, but we are now quickly becoming one family, caring for each other every day as we travel to new places, learn about about past and build a unified global Jewish community.

The theme for our first day was Hachnasat Orchim (welcoming guests). We began the adventure as a set of strangers – welcoming each other into our lives and getting to know each other as Jewish teens from 14 countries, including Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.

Wednesday included time at Veliko Turnovo, the ancient capital of Bulgaria. The theme for the day was Betzelem Elohim – being made in the image. This Jewish value showcased our similarities and our shared history when we explored our unique communities and shared history.

There we will explore the old part of the city and the remains of fortress from then the city housed the capital. Later today we will learn about our shared heritage and traditions by exploring the Jewish diaspora and the global Jewish community.

The teens enjoyed enjoyed an incredible audio-visual performance “Sounds and Light” where the ancient fortress and surrounding hills lit up accompanied by beautiful and meaningful music. The teens were mesmerized the by the private show.

Thursday we start to really meet new people and tour our beautiful host country we are excited to continue to learn about one another and make friendships for life. We talked about our family histories and learned that although we come from very different parts of the world, we are more similar than we are different. This realization brought the group closer together and sparked interesting conversations that continued even once the program had concluded.

– Naava, California, USA

Waking up today and looking on how happy is everyone to be here makes me feel so excited. Ambassadors to Bulgaria is a really special program and it’s very different from the other summer programs, but what makes it so special is the people participating.

Bulgaria is a really beautiful country with an important history and every day we go through different cities with different stories. Every day’s theme is different and today we learnt about each other’s history and It was so interesting to hear so many stories and to see how similar we are.

Even though we are all from different countries and we are all scared but very excited in the beginning of the seminar I really feel that till the end of this awesome trip we will learn a lot more about each other and we will become one big connected family.

– Kati, Bulgaria

0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment