By Alanna E. Cooper
Part ethnography, half background, and half memoir, this quantity chronicles the advanced previous and dynamic current of an historical Mizrahi neighborhood. whereas in detail tied to the relevant Asian panorama, the Jews of Bukhara have additionally maintained deep connections to the broader Jewish international. because the neighborhood started to disperse after the autumn of the Soviet Union, Alanna E. Cooper traveled to Uzbekistan to rfile Jewish existence earlier than it disappeared. Drawing on ethnographic study there in addition to between immigrants to the U.S. and Israel, Cooper tells an intimate and private tale approximately what it skill to be Bukharan Jewish. along with her ancient examine a couple of sequence of dramatic encounters among Bukharan Jews and Jews in different components of the realm, this energetic narrative illuminates the tensions inherent in preserving Judaism as a unmarried international faith over the process its lengthy and sundry diaspora history.
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Additional info for Bukharan Jews and the Dynamics of Global Judaism
44 Following in their footsteps, generations of Jewish historians focused on the rise and fall of centers as a means to frame their unified narratives of the Jewish People and religion. 28 I n t roduc t ion Since these centers were defined by their influence on the Jewish population across the globe, historians’ documentation of Jewish life within them generally focused on their public, political, and intellectual contributions. There was, therefore, an intimate link between the center-based narrative and the presentation of Jewish history in elitist terms.
I also took note of the great divide between the religious outlook of the school’s student population and its teacher population, and was intrigued by the conversations between them in which they negotiated claims to two very different views of Judaism. In short, unlike most of the faculty members, my goal was not to teach Judaism to the students. Rather, it was to enrich my understanding of it through discussions with my students and with the other teachers, and through my observations of the unfolding encounter between them.
Yet, this task of listening to Bukharan Jews and working to see the world as they view it is only half the project. At Torah Academy, I was also intrigued by the encounters between the school’s student population and teacher population, in which they negotiated claims to two very different views of Judaism. This formative experience shaped the direction of my research as well as the structure of this book. The gateway story this chapter presents, then, is not only intended to provide ethnographic details about the interactions between Torah Academy’s ultra-Orthodox, Ashkenazi establishment and the school’s Bukharan Jewish immigrant students, an encounter that unfolded in a very particular time, place, and cultural context.