JUDAISM IN CROATIA
Posted on 05/09/2013 @ 02:00 PM
There are about 600 Jews in Croatia, but most are not active in the Jewish community. Where I am from, Osijek, although we do not have a formal synagogue and pulpit, we do come together as a community to celebrate major Jewish holidays with cultural significance like Hanukah, Purim and Rosh Hashanah. In the capital, Zagreb, the synagogue is active, but there are few participants. For example, most teens do not have a bar or bat mitzvah.
In Osijek, we have about 5 teenagers and 10 younger kids engaged in our youth programming. Some of the exciting activities we have in our community are a dance group called Haverim Shel Israel and a Sunday school where smaller kids can learn about Israel and Judaism. It might be hard to imagine if you come from a larger community, but we like our small and intimate community. We all grew up together, so our Jewish community is like our second family.
You can probably tell there are not many opportunities to become involved in Jewish life in Croatia, so thankfully BBYO works to connect us to our Judaism, to develop and strengthen our Jewish identities and to learn about ourselves. It is through BBYO that I have met and made many of my Jewish friends. It is because of BBYO that I feel connected to the Jewish world and am becoming a better person.
Maja Vizentaner & Rebecca Beissman