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Bulgaria Chief Rabbis: Since the Independence of the Country (1878-1949)

During Ottoman rule over Bulgaria, the Chief Rabbi of Adrianople (Edirne) was also that of Bulgaria. With the independence Of Bulgaria in 1878, the Bulgarian Jewish communities remained without any supreme rabbinical institution. The local government considered the Chief Rabbi of Sofia and its surroundings, then R' Gabriel Almosnino, as the legal representative of the Bulgarian Jews. Only in 1880, R' Gabriel Almosnino was officially nominated Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria. The Great Rabbinate was in fact a one-man institution representing the whole Jewish community. In 1884 the Central Consortium of the Bulgarian Jews was created in order to manage the local Jewish affairs and to serve as an administrative body to the Chief Rabbi.

   The chronological list of Bulgarian Chief Rabbis has been compiled from 1880 till 1949, when 45,000 out of 50,000 Jews immigrated to Israel. Most of the Jews who remained, lived in Sofia, some in Plovdiv while all the other communities just disappeared. In the post-war communist context, the Chief Rabbinate and the Central Consortium were dissolved. A Cultural and Educational Organization of the Jews of Bulgaria took their place and is functioning till today, while Sofia and Plovdiv communities have each their own Rabbi.


Bulgaria Chief Rabbis Since the Independence of the Country (1878-1949)
Compiled by Mathilde A. Tagger
Surname Given Name Function Period Notes
Almosnino Gabriel  1880- 1885    (Nikopol 1805 - Sofia 188?).
Bakish Presiado  1885- 1889  Interim Chief Rabbi
Dankowitz Shimon 1889- 1891   Former Bohemia Chief Rabbi.
Tadjer Moshe (Moshonachi) 1891- 1893  Interim Chief Rabbi (Sofia 1832- Kiustendil 1913)
Gruenwald  Mordekhay (Dr.) 1893- 1895  (1853 - London 1895)
Bakish Presiado  1895- 1898 Interim Chief Rabbi.
Tadjer Moshe (Moshonachi) 1898- 1900  Interim Chief Rabbi.
Ehrenpreiss Mordekhay  1900- 1914  Former Bohemia Chief Rabbi.
Davidov  Hezkeya Shabetay  1914- 1918  Interim Chief Rabbi.(Consitorium President) (Sofia1880- 1950)
Pipano David 1920- 1925  Former Sofia Rabbi ( Salonica- ??)
    1925- 1945  No Chief Rabbi.
Hannanel Asher  (Dr.) 1945- 1949  (Shumen 1895- Israel 1964)


We acknowledge the tremendous contributions and lifelong dedication of Mathilde Tagger, z"l who made this index available. For many years, and right until her untimely death, Mathilde Tagger was a very close friend and collaborator with Jeff Malka. Together they worked to promote Sephardic genealogy research and educate the public about its enormous potential.

In addition, we express our grateful appreciation to Dr. Jeff Malka for his monumental ongoing effort to collect and make accessible Sephardic genealogical information, and for his generosity in contributing his extraordinarily valuable collection to JewishGen.

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The Dictionary of Bulgarian Jewish Surnames can be searched by via the JewishGen Bulgaria Database or the JewishGen Sephardic Collection

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