In Bukhara, 10,000 Jewish Graves but Just 150 Jews

Source: The New York Times


Bukhara, Uzbekistan, has two synagogues but few Jews. CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

BUKHARA, Uzbekistan — The ancient Silk Road city of Bukhara has two synagogues, a primary school that teaches Hebrew, a Jewish cultural association and a sprawling Jewish cemetery with more than 10,000 graves. What it lacks are Jews.

Home to one of the world’s oldest and, in centuries past, biggest Jewish communities, Bukhara — a fabled city of ancient ruins and Islamic architectural treasures in central Uzbekistan — has a Muslim population of more than 270,000 people but, according to most estimates, only 100 to 150 Jews.

Even that, said Lyuba Kimatova, an observant Jew whose son and older daughter emigrated to Israel, is a big exaggeration. Ms. Kimatova said there were only four or five families left who kept kosher and followed Jewish traditions. The rest, she said, “do not really live like Jews anymore.”

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