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17 Facts About Bukharan Jews
Bukharan Jews originally called themselves Bnei Israel, which relates specifically to the Israelites of Assyrian captivity.
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The term Bukharan Jews was coined by European travellers who visited Central Asia around the 16th century.
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Bukharan Jews are considered one of the oldest ethno-religious groups of Central Asia and over the years they have developed their own distinct culture.
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Many of the native Bukharan Jews were opposed to this and the community split into two factions.
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In 1843 the Bukharan Jews were visited by the so-called "Eccentric Missionary", Joseph Wolff, a Jewish convert to Christianity who had set himself the broad task of finding the Lost Tribes of Israel and the narrow one of seeking two British officers who had been captured by the Emir, Nasrullah Khan.
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Dozens of Bukharan Jews held prestigious jobs in medicine, law, and government, and many Jews prospered.
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Many Bukharan Jews became successful and well-respected actors, artists, dancers, musicians, singers, film producers, and sportsmen.
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Still, Bukharan Jews were forbidden to ride in the streets and had to wear distinctive costumes.
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Bukharan Jews who had put efforts into creating a Bukharan Jewish Soviet culture and national identity were charged during Stalin's Great Purge, or, as part of the Soviet Union's nationalities policies and nation building campaigns, were forced to assimilate into the larger Soviet Uzbek or Soviet Tajik national identities.
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Currently, Bukharan Jews are mostly concentrated in the U S in New York City.
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In 2007, Bukharan-American Jews initiated lobbying efforts on behalf of their community.
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Bukharan Jews had their own dress code, similar to but different from other cultures living in Central Asia.
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Bukharan Jews have a distinct musical tradition called shashmaqam, which is an ensemble of stringed instruments, infused with Central Asian rhythms, and a considerable klezmer influence as well as Muslim melodies, and even Spanish chords.
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