Roots in Spain, Trees in Sarajevo

This lesson aims to enlighten students about Sephardic history in the Balkans, and was originally taught in the context of a Jewish day school in the United States.  The Jews expelled from Spain who settled in the Balkans were welcomed, and Jews were generally accepted as part of society, as they were in all parts of the Ottoman Empire. Focusing on Sarajevo as an example of Jewish life in the Balkans, this lesson uses music, a lecture with PowerPoint, photographs and two short films to explore how in times of crisis the positive relationships between Sephardic Jews and their neighbors stood them in good stead. 

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Survival in Sarajevo -- Friendship in a Time of War

The story of how an old synagogue in the Bosnian war zone became a beacon of hope for everyone. During the Bosnian war (1992-1995), the Jewish community of Sarajevo refused to take sides, opened their own humanitarian aid agency inside the city's synagogue, and were soon joined by their Muslim, Croat and Serbian friends. While outside of the besieged Bosnian capital, nationalist politicians swore these ethnic groups could not get along, here's a group of people who never got the memo. In this European war, Jews were not the victims. In this war, Jews were saving Muslims and Christians.

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