Guest lecture

The Jews of Central Asia Between Bukhara and Jerusalem

Date & Time

27. 5. 2020 10:00 AM


Trainee centre ONLINE on ZOOM
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In the late 19 th century, wealthy Jews of Central Asia (Russian Turkestan, Bukhara, andAfghanistan) founded a colony outside of the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The ‘Bukharan Neighbourhood’ (Shekhunat ha-Bukharim) quickly developed into the most important cultural and religious centre for Persian speaking Jews. In the 20 th century, the close connections between Palestine and Central Asia were disrupted several times. Three major waves of emigration from Soviet Central Asia to Palestine/Israel can be differentiated: From the 1920s to the Mid-1930s, in the 1970s, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this presentation I will focus on the family history of the intellectual and writer MordekhayBen Hiyo Bachaev (1911 Marv – 2007 Petah Tikva) to demonstrate how these connections and disruptions affected the lives of Central Asian Jews before, during, and after the Soviet Union.


Thomas Loy (*1973) is currently freelance scientist and publishing director of edition-tethys. He holds a PhD from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Central Asian Studies) where he has worked as assistant professor from 2009 to 2019. Thomas Loy has published extensively on the culture and history of Bukharan Jews and Soviet Central Asia. His recent monograph, published in 2016 is “Bukharan Jews in the Soviet Union. Autobiographical Narrations of Mobility, Continuity and Change”.