For the Seventh Annual Bukharian Jewish Congress, the musical “In Bukhara I was Boi” (rich) is being staged for the first time in Israel at the Tel Aviv Cultural Center.
Bukharian Jews are those from Central Asia who speak Bukhori, a Persian dialect. Their name comes from the Uzbek city of Bukhara, which once had a large and thriving Jewish community.
The playwright, director and actor, Chai Davidov (of Bukharian origin) wrote the musical, based on the lives and experiences of the Bukharian immigrants to Israel.
The musical tells the story of ‘Mula Chai-Abu Albanat’, who emigrated with his family from Bukhara to Israel, and struggles with the hardships of absorption, cultural differences, language issues, and the social and financial struggles that his family experiences.
Chai, a downtrodden man, who was hopeful, makes a living by selling ‘lepeshka’ (Bukharian bread) that his wife bakes. He also deals with finding a suitable match for each of his five daughters.
Chai must then deal with his daughters who have adapted to Israeli society, not only selecting their own matches, but those not of Bukharian background.
“The Bukharian Jewish Congress asked me to produce a Bukharian-Israeli production for the annual conference and I saw in it a challenge and also a great honor,” said Davidov. “The Bukharians are mostly a community that does not go out to plays due to the difficulties with language and mentality. Here we are producing a musical that speaks their language and touches everyone sitting in the audience.”