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Bulgarian Chief Rabbi Denies Sofia Synagogue is Converted into Museum

Bulgaria’s Chief Rabbi Asher Hannanel today told an Israeli rabbi, in a telephone conversation between Jerusalem and Sofia, that the great synagogue at Sofia has not been converted into a museum, as previously reported.

Rabbi Hannanel, who has been convicted by a Bulgarian court and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on allegations of “smuggling and speculating” in currency, is at his home in Sofia, having been released on bail for reasons of health.

Last week, Zvi Harkavi, a Jerusalem rabbi, wrote to the Bulgarian legation in Israel, asking for clarification of conflicting reports about the fate of the great synagogue in Sofia. The Bulgarian mission advised rabbi Harkavi to telephone Chief Rabbi Hannanel and ask the latter. In today’s conversation, rabbi Hannanel denied the reports that the synagogue has been converted by the Bulgarian authorities into a museum.