Ma Nishtana (a pseudonym) is from an African-American Brooklyn family that traces its Jewish heritage back eight generations.
In 2009, Ma Nishtana began blogging about his experiences as a Jew of color; that work ultimately led him on a journey of accidental activism and advocacy for Members of the Tribe who feel marginalized for being minorities.
Abayev is one of 40,000 to 50,000 Bukharian Jews in Queens some are scattered in other cities across North America who struggle to maintain their identity while confronting the economic and cultural pressures of the United States.
The struggle is most apparent among young Bukharian Jews, most of whom left Uzbekistan in Central Asia after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and are now trying to define their identity away from the surroundings that shaped their heritage and traditions.
You won’t have bachsh,” a traditional Bukharian dish, on Friday night.
Wolff (1795-1862), who seems to have undertaken a kind of census of Jews “in Toorkestaun,” stated their number to be “13,600 souls” (p. The first census of the Russian empire (1897) counted 11,463 adherents of Judaism in Central Asian territory under Russian sovereignty (Troĭnitskiĭ, p. It can be estimated that at least 9,500-10,000 of them were Central Asian Jews. In 1970, according to data from the Soviet census (, pp.
Data from various independent sources suggest that there were 6,000-6,500 Jews in the amirate of Bukhara, 4,000-4,500 of them in the city itself (Neymark, pp. 202, table 11; 223, table 13; 284, table 22; 295, table 24; 306, table 27; with somewhat misleading distribution among language groups), there were an estimated 40,000 Central Asian Jews in the USSR (corrected by about 15 percent for Central Asian Jewish native speakers of Russian).
Jews arrival in Central Asia: The beginning of a Jewish settlement in the area around Bukhara may go back as far as the 7th century BCE when the Jews were exiled by the Assyrians(II Kings 17:6).
It is to this date that the Bukharan Jews themselves trace their heritage.