Synagogue in Bukhara

Location - Bukhara

The synagogue in Bukhara appeared accidentally, as the legend says. When the treasurer Nadir Divan-begi decided to build a "Lyabi-Hauz" pond on the central square, he faced a problem. The elderly Jewish resident who lived at the place of the future pond did not want to give her house for new construction. But in the end, the vizier managed to make an agreement: in exchange for her home, the woman asked to build a synagogue.

The synagogue is a holy place of worship in the Jewish religion. Before its construction Jews of Bukhara prayed together with Muslims in the same mosque. The synagogue still operates today, but if earlier the Jewish community consisted of 35,000 people, today there are about 400 Jews left here, which is due to their mass resettlement.

Synagogue in Bukhara

At the door of the synagogue, as it should be, there is a mezuzah - a case of a scroll with the holy prayer "Shema", although it is just painted. Inside the two-story building is a small courtyard with two rooms for worship. The interior of the room is fitting to the usual form of the synagogue: there are sacred scrolls of the Torah, Judaic candelabras, as well as objects of ritual ceremonies hang on the wall.

In 1994, local Jews opened a small school near the synagogue, in order to conserve their culture. The lessons are taught in four languages: Russian, Uzbek, English and Hebrew, and both the history of Uzbekistan and the history of Israel are studied here.

Bukharian Jews also contributed to the history of Central Asia, primarily by their skill in dyeing, the secrets of which were known by them only. Bukharian Jews attracted the Uzbek people to such famous music as "Shashmaqom", which was included in the list of masterpieces of UNESCO's cultural heritage. They opened a lot of music schools in Bukhara in the 10th century.

At present, it is rare to meet a Jew in Bukhara, most of them moved to other countries. But the small part that still remains is perceived by local residents as a kind of city attraction, and the old synagogue is the regular residence of elderly representatives of Bukharian Jews.

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