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Even that, said Lyuba Kimatova, an observant Jew whose son and older daughter emigrated to Israel, is a big exaggeration. Kimatova said there were only four or five families left who kept kosher and followed Jewish traditions.
The rest, she said, “do not really live like Jews anymore.”That is not entirely their fault, she quickly added, but mostly the result of the fact that there is nobody left who can slaughter animals for food according to Jewish law.
But Almeyev would also like for a museum to recognize the diversity of Jewish life in Bukhara, which took in trade, banking, medicine and music.“Their most outstanding craft was dyeing silk and cotton fabrics.
They were especially famous for making transparent silk fabric from which women’s scarves were then sewed,” he said.
One other reason for wishing to create the museum though is to foster a better awareness of history among the remaining Bukharan Jewish community.
Yakubova said that young people especially are often ignorant of their ancestors’ story, and this decline of remembrance has been worsened by the departure of so many people. Benyamin Badalov, 13, is a faithful attendee at Hebrew school at the weekend.
One argument for opening a museum is to foster a better awareness of history among the remaining Bukharan Jewish community.
Officials at the Bukhara city administration do not even remember that any decision was taken on a museum two decades ago.“We would need to go into the archives and try to dig up this document,” Vahid Niyazov, a representative of the city administration, told Eurasianet.The Israeli tourist market should be especially appealing.The Israeli ambassador in Tashkent said in an interview last year that there are 250,000 people living in his country that moved there from Uzbekistan.We worked out everything down to the details – the layout, the exhibits. And then, I don’t know why, the whole thing came to a halt.Now the venue has been converted into a restaurant,” Almeyev said.