Imonuel Rybakov, 23, a Queens College finance major, became involved with Bukharian and in 2002 founded the Association of Bukharian Jewish Youth of the USA-Achdut (unity), a cultural organization that targets Bukharian Jews ages 16 to 35.
The group runs festivals, lectures, a band, political volunteering, and online Bukharian Jewish language classes.
For some, defining their identity means using new-found religious freedom and knowledge to rediscover the traditional Jewish observances of their ancestors.
"There was no information on our history, culture, traditions. So he wrote his own community history and started Bukharian in 1999.Today, the website has more than 950 registered members who chat, view photos, listen to music, and learn about Bukharian Jewish history, traditions, and culture.Bukharian culture is integral to Abayev's identity. "To change would be partial suicide." To ensure that others follow Abayev's path, some young adults are starting organizations to keep Bukharian Jewish culture alive.Peter Pinkhasov, 28, a paralegal, wears a gold Star of David necklace and no yarmulke, and became interested in the Bukharian Jewish traditions as a child hearing his grandfather's stories.since 1991, but without the same level of observance as her American Orthodox counterparts. " She began to learn the laws and little by little, started wearing only skirts, observing Shabbat, and eating only kosher food.
When she came to the "I came to America and see people are different," she said. Penkhasova explained that to keep kosher in Uzbekistan, "You have to drive so far, buy live animals, get them home, get a rabbi to kill them," she explained. You go to any kosher store, buy a snack, and eat it." Another young, newly Orthodox Jew is Larissa Mullodzhanova, 20.Uzbekistan's economy deteriorated, leaving few opportunities for its citizens.The story of this community is one of a struggle to maintain its unique identity while confronting the economic and cultural pressures of the United States.This is most apparent among the young Bukharian Jews like Abayev, who left Uzbekistan after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and are now trying to define their identities apart from the surroundings that shaped their heritage and traditions.A few are quickly assimilating into secular American culture, but most are not.Despite the difficulties of living at home, he believes moving out is inappropriate. "You stay with your parents until you get married, then you move not far away.