In Queens, New York, Cyrillic signs adorn storefronts, restaurants with names like Shalom and Cheburechnaya serve bread baked in a tandoor and a museum showcases elaborate robes and kippot - all signs of the thriving community that came from Central Asia, bringing their unique heritage with them.
On a fall Sunday afternoon, the chandeliered party room at Troika in Forest Hills, Queens, is filling up.
Although Abayev admits to feeling tempted to move away from his parents’ watchful eyes, “I really can’t do that,” he says. You may find a job and girlfriend but you won’t have a family connection.
You won’t have bachsh,” a traditional Bukharian dish, on Friday night.
I'm Cara Rosehope, and today we'll explore the history of the Bukharians, the oriental Jewish community of Central Asia.
For millennia, the Bukharians have lived at the crossroads of the east, but today they stand at a crossroad in their very identity.
The scene is repeated all through the year - with some variations - at two dozen or so restaurants that have sprung up to accommodate the thousands of Bukharian Jews who have settled in Queens since the early 1970s.
Bukharian Jews are thriving here and elsewhere in the United States, modernizing yet trying to stay true to their heritage.
Today they stand at a crossroads in their identity, feeling the pressures of modernity and diaspora.
While the speeches extolling the deceased begin in Bukhori, also called Judeo-Persian (Farsi mixed with Hebrew, Aramaic, Uzbek and Tajik), which is the native tongue of the Bukharian Jews, the guests sip and munch.
Course after course is served: fried carp dipped in garliccilantro sauce; round meat pies (samboosak); dumlama, a wheel of baked cabbage, tomato, meat and pepper; and plov, rice spiced with cumin and crowned with julienned carrots, chick peas and meat.
10 (JTA) David Abayev is a successful Manhattan accountant.
He attended American schools, wears hip professional clothes, sips coffee at Starbucks, and speaks perfect English, with little indication that until 1991, he lived in Uzbekistan.
Abayev is one of 40,000 to 50,000 Bukharian Jews in Queens some are scattered in other cities across North America who struggle to maintain their identity while confronting the economic and cultural pressures of the United States.