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Discover The Balkans’ Jewish Communities: Romania

Hosted By: Qesher

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Romania was the Paris of the east, a center for fashion, music, architecture and more. Jews were mostly assimilated and highly cultural, speaking French and German as common second languages. The city of Sighet was the center of eastern European Chassidut since the 18th century, visited by the Baal Shem Tov, as well as Elie Wiesel. Before 1939, there were almost 1 million Romanian Jews. The present-day community numbers around 5,000. Half a million Romanian Jews were murdered in Auschwitz and Transnistria camps (in what is present-day Ukraine). Our guide, Peninah was born in Israel to Romanian survivor parents. As a young adult, she moved to Toronto, Canada. Presently she lives in Israel during the winters and spring to late fall in Romania. Her professional career started as a Hebrew teacher which then led to her becoming the principal of Hebrew afternoon schools. She used to serve as the Director of the Toronto Holocaust Museum. She is also the founder and CEO of the Tarbut Sighet Foundation.