Some in NY Bukharan community make experimental aliyah

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 | 
Some 100 members of the Bukharan Jewish community in Queens, New York are making aliya with their rabbi this summer as pioneers: If the group succeeds, thousands more from the 60,000-member community may follow. “If there is peace in Israel, 70 percent of Bukharans will leave here and go there,” said community leader Aron Aronov. Most of the families in this initial group are children of Bukharan immigrants who came to Queens when the Soviet Union fell. They have decided to move to Israel for Zionist reasons. Rabbi Michael Borochov is leading the group making aliya in July. “Immigration is never easy. When we left the Soviet Union, it was out of fear,” he said. “But now everyone is comfortable. For everyone, leaving is a risk. I'll show them that I can take the risk also." The term “Bukharan” comes from the Uzbek city of Bukhara, which once had a large Jewish community. The group is considered one of the oldest ethno-religious group of Central Asia and holds to its own distinct culture.

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