Photographs of headstones in the restored Monastir cemetery.
(photo credit: YAEL UNNA)
The State of North Macedonia has recently featured prominently in the international headlines. Not to be confused with the Greek province of Macedonia, the country has just been accepted as the 30th member of NATO. Formerly part of Yugoslavia, its official name, The Republic of North Macedonia has now been ratified by the UN. This followed a long and bitter dispute with Greece whose government objected to the name of Macedonia being “stolen” by the fledgling state. But what of Macedonia’s Jews? I only recently became aware of the country’s rich Jewish heritage through our Israeli friend, Yael Unna. Yael, who traces her matrilineal descent to the Jewish community of Monastir (present day Bitola), now heads up an organization in Israel whose purpose is to preserve, honor and commemorate the Jewish heritage of their antecedents.
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