The Ashkenazi Synagogue and Jewish Center lies just south of the Miljacka River in the center of the city.
The Ashkenazi Synagogue in Sarajevo is entirely hand painted in traditional designs. The Synagogue holds services every Friday night except during the summer months when many congregation members are out of town.
The Center stays open all day during the week and serves food and drink. Many local members, like this man, come by for lunch or to chat with others.
A longstanding tradition: weekly meetings of the women in the congregation. The group is called "Laura Papo Bohoreta" or "Bohoreta". Laura Papo Bohoreta was a famous writer who wrote in the traditional Sephardic language of Ladino. She is most famous for her book “Sefardska žena u Bosni” (Sefardic women in Bosnia).
The Jewish Cemetery in Sarajevo is the second largest in Europe, after that of Prague. It was opened in 1630 and closed to burial in 1966. During the siege of Sarajevo, the cemetery was on the front lines and was used as an artillery position for Bosnian Serbs.
Gordana Girt is the manager of the small but neat library collection housed at the Jewish Center. All books are free to take out by anyone--although few outside the Jewish Community know the library exists.
The Jewish Center not only houses a restaurant and communal area, but a small doctor's office and offices of community leaders. During the summer, most of the community leaves for vacation.
Andrea Andrle, one of the younger members of the community, helps out with the lessons for young children.
Erna Debevec is one of the only remaining members of the community who still speaks Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), the traditional language of Sephardic Jews.
It is clear that the women in the Bohoreta group have been supporting each other for a long time. The meetings are filled with laughter, chatter, yelling, and hugging.
A table in the center bears the markings of two classic Bosnian delicacies (no matter one's religion): coffee and cigarettes.
The Jewish Cemetery's grass is cut twice yearly. As burial was closed in 1965, the cemetery does not get many regular visitors.