Bukharan Jews and the Dynamics of Global Judaism

Indiana University Press  2012


Alanna E. Cooper combines ethnographic research with an extensive historical review of information on a little-studied Jewish community. The Bukharan community exemplifies Prof. Haym Soloveitchik's notion of a mimetic, non-textual tradition in Jewish life and the dynamics of its cultural continuity and discontinuity have implications for other communities. Isolated from much of the mainstream Jewish tradition during portions of its history but reinvigorated by Rabbinic leaders from abroad in the nineteenth century, Bukharans have retained their commitment to Jewish tradition despite this isolation and in spite of efforts by the Soviets. Cooper has collected a rich data set ranging from classroom observations in a Queens school to numerous conversations in the longstanding Bukharan community in Jerusalem. The book offers interesting insights on the maintenance of tradition under adverse conditions and its continuation in a global context.

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