Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia has extended his congratulations to the Jewish community in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska on the occasion of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. The Crown Prince has also contacted leaders of the Jewish community in Serbia to congratulate them.
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.
The statement from his Royal Highness says: “It is a great pleasure to extend warm congratulations on the occasion of Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday in the Jewish religious year, to all members of the Jewish community in Serbia and Republika Srpska. I wish you to spend this holiest day in contemplation and dedication of the noble ideals of your faith. May this holiday be blessed with good health, happiness and peace for you, your family and all members of the Jewish community in Serbia”.
His Royal Highness has also sent a letter to H.E. Mrs. Alona Fisher-Kamm, the Ambassador of Israel to Serbia, Mr. Isaac Asiel, Chief Rabbi of Serbia, Mr Robert Sabados, President of the Association of the Jewish Communities in Serbia, Mr. Arije Livne, President of the Jewish Community Banja Luka, and other prominent representatives of the Jewish community.
Serbia’s Jewish community was first documented in Roman times. The Jewish communities of the Balkans remained small until the late 15th century, when Jews fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions found refuge in the Ottoman-ruled areas, including Serbia.
The community flourished and reached a peak of 33,000 before World War II. About two-thirds of Serbian Jews perished in the Holocaust. In the 2011 census, only 787 people declared themselves as Jewish. Today, the Belgrade Synagogue and the Subotica Synagogue, once the fourth largest synagogue building in Europe, are the two in-service synagogues in Serbia.