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Dobrodošli na web prezentaciju Jevrejske zajednice Bosne i Hercegovine, Jevrejske Opštine Sarajevo i Jevrejskog kulturno-prosvjetnog i humanitarnog društva "La Benevolencija". Osnovni cilj prezentacije je približiti JZBIH široj javnosti kao i stare/nove članove informisati o aktivnostima društva....



 About half of the Jews live in Sarajevo and the balance in Mostar, Zenica, Tuzla, Doboj, and Banja Luka. Some two-thirds of the community have left since the outbreak of conflict in the former Yugoslavia, but recently the tendency toward emigration has slackened. Ninety percent of the community is Sephardi. However, only older people still speak Ladino.


Sephardi Jews established a community in Sarajevo during the second half of the 16th century. They were later joined by Ashkenazi Jews from Central Europe. A special Jewish quarter was established in the second half of the 16th century and Jews resided there until the Austrian conquest in 1878. A succession of Ottoman laws in the 19th century emancipated the Jews of Turkey and the various territories under its rule, including Bosnia-Herzegovina.

After World War I, when Bosnia-Herzegovina became a constituent part of Yugoslavia, the Jewish community joined the all-Yugoslav Federation of Jewish Religious Communities.

  For the most part Bosnian Jewry retained its unique Sephardi customs along with the the Ladino language.

On the eve of the Shoah, the Jewish population numbered some 14,000. When the Germans entered Sarajevo, they destroyed the Sephardi synagogue. Bosnian Jewry was decimated by a German. After the war the Jewish community was reconstituted, and many of the survivors returned. As was the case elsewhere in Yugoslavia, the rate of intermarriage was high, but most Jews retained a sense of Jewish iden tity.

After the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1990, Jews in Bosnia shared the fate of their non-Jewish neighbors, and many elected to flee the country.


Since 1945 there has been a united Jewish community (Sephardi and Ashkenazi). The Federation of Jewish Communities of Bosnia-Herzegovina is responsible for both religious and secular life. There are no branches of international Jewish organizations. La Benevolencija, a Jewish humanitarian association formed 100 years ago, is active in promoting the general welfare of the population irrespective of religion or nationality. The JDC has provided critical aid to this beleaguered community.

 Religious and Cultural Life

There is only one functioning synagogue, which was rebuilt after World War II, and it is the center of Bosnian Jewish communal life. Four other synagogue buildings exist (one of which serves as the Jewish Museum). Cultural programs are held including co-sponsored exhibitions, concerts and lectures. There is also a Sunday school.

A bimonthly paper called Bulletin is published, as well as occasional journals on Jewish culture.


The Sephardi Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo is one of the most important Jewish burial grounds in Europe because of the shape of the tombstones and the ancient Ladino inscriptions on them. The famous 14th century "Sarajevo Haggada" was hidden for safekeeping by the government during the conflict. The Jewish Museum chronicles the history of Sarejevan Jewry. In the Sarajevo synagogue, there is a valuable collection of Ladino and other Jewish books, some printed 200-300 years ago. The tomb of the Tzaddik Rabbi Moshe Danon in Stolac is venerated by Jews and non-Jews. On the anniversary of his death (the first Sunday in July), pilgrimages are made there.

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