Twenty-five hundred members strong before the war, the Jewish community of Ruse, on the banks of the Danube, was reduced to barely 200 people after mass departures to Israel in the late 1940s.
Since the fall of Communism, however, the Shalom organization has attempted to revitalize and return the Ashkenazic Synagogue here to service, the last one built in Bulgaria, in 1927. The Sephardic Synagogue, which dates from the late nineteenth century, is no longer active. Both buildings are closed to the public.
It was in Ruse in 1905 that Nobel Prize-winning writer Elias Canetti was born. He lived at number 13 on Gurko Street, where the former Sephardic Synagogue is located.