The Emirate of Bukhara once included Uzbekhistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, which is why this part of Queens is sometimes called ”Queenistan" by those familiar with the neighborhood.The Jews who fled these territories did so, as so many immigrant groups before them, to escape the prejudice and religious restrictions that they experienced in their former home.
While the speeches extolling the deceased begin in Bukhori, also called Judeo-Persian (Farsi mixed with Hebrew, Aramaic, Uzbek and Tajik), which is the native tongue of the Bukharian Jews, the guests sip and munch.
Course after course is served: fried carp dipped in garliccilantro sauce; round meat pies (samboosak); dumlama, a wheel of baked cabbage, tomato, meat and pepper; and plov, rice spiced with cumin and crowned with julienned carrots, chick peas and meat.
The Bukharians are the Jews of Central Asia, and they have lived at the crossroads of the East for millennia.
Today they stand at a crossroads in their identity, feeling the pressures of modernity and diaspora.
The scene is repeated all through the year - with some variations - at two dozen or so restaurants that have sprung up to accommodate the thousands of Bukharian Jews who have settled in Queens since the early 1970s.
Bukharian Jews are thriving here and elsewhere in the United States, modernizing yet trying to stay true to their heritage.I'm Cara Rosehope, and today we'll explore the history of the Bukharians, the oriental Jewish community of Central Asia.For millennia, the Bukharians have lived at the crossroads of the east, but today they stand at a crossroad in their very identity.There are now an estimated 50,000 Bukharian Jews in New York City with practically all of them living in Queens.(This makes Queens the second largest Bukharian Jewish community in the world; Israel is the first.) It is thought that only about 100 remain in Bukhara, the city in Uzbekhistan that was once the epicenter of their world.Abayev wants to get married, but first he must find a Bukharian Jewish woman who meets his parents’ approval.