Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the WJC-affiliated Organization of Jews in Bulgaria-Shalom has teamed up with the Bulgarian Society of Ophthalmology and several major hospitals in Sofia to launch the Together, We Can Make It fundraising campaign, the proceeds of which are donated to the Bulgarian Doctors’ Association to sponsor meals to families and medical professionals in quarantine. Shalom President Dr. Alexander Oscar was one of many community members to personally deliver food to those in quarantine.
The Bulgarian Jewish community took extremely active steps to protect themselves from the virus, such as closing the Sofia Central Synagogue to tourists, and canceling all public events even before the first reported infection in Bulgaria on 8 March. By the end of the month, the number of confirmed cases had risen to around 400 cases.
The Bulgarian Jewish community has a historically special relationship with the Bulgarian Doctors Association. In November 1940, the Bulgarian Doctors Association wrote to the Speaker of the Bulgarian National Assembly to voice its strong objection to the antisemitic Defence of the Nation Act. In a letter the Association wrote that although it was an apolitical organization, it “cannot be indifferent to the faith of its Jewish members who have always been exemplary members of the doctors union.”