|Benvenita enjoys a Kosher breakfast at |
her new preschool.
Photo: JDC Website
Located in the local Beit Shalom Jewish Community Center and across from a synagogue, the nursery is quickly becoming a haven for Benvenita and more than 20 other children, ages 2-5 years. There they learn basic Hebrew, Jewish traditions, and enjoy Jewish-themed toys and educational tools in a well-equipped, modern facility that includes a spacious area for dancing and role-playing, multimedia equipment, and a piano. The school also provides daily kosher, nutritious meals—two breakfasts and a three-course lunch—which is a compelling benefit rarely offered by the state institutions.
“I haven’t seen a better designed and organized place for children in Sofia,” said Shlomo.
In fact, this newly dedicated preschool helps address an important need in Bulgaria at large, where a shortage of state-run preschools has left some 3,000 children without an early-education framework. Gan Balagan charges the lowest tuition among all of the private preschools and is seeking subsidies for families that cannot afford to cover the full cost on their own.
|Photo: JDC website|
Shlomo didn’t begin to explore Judaism with fervor until the mid-1990s, when he was 18; today he and his wife, Iliana, open their home to more than 20 people for Shabbat, and own the first kosher café in Sofia where they produce kosher challot.
“It makes me feel calm that my child will grow up with a strong Jewish identity and with an excellent premise for her future Jewish education,” said Shlomo, referencing the transition Benvenita could make from this preschool into the community’s Jewish primary and high schools. “Our son was just born last month, but we are very happy that a couple of years from now he will join this Paradise for Jewish kids."