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Jewish Religion Suffered Little in Bukhara Since Soviets Took Control

The Jewish religion in Bukhara has suffered little under the Soviet regime. This is the conclusion reached after an investigation by the Moscow correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

In the Samarkand district alone there are 32 synagogues while there are only 8,000 Jews. Six of the nine preSoviet synagogues in Old Bukhara still exist while the other three have been converted into various cultural institutions by the Communists. All religious customs are strictly kept by the Jews as in the past but their children are attending Soviet schools, where they are being educated in Soviet’s anti-religious spirit.

The 24 Jewish Soviet schools are attended by 2,760 Jewish children. The language of instruction is Russian or the local native tongue but in none of the schools is Yiddish or Hebrew used, the latter being entirely prohibited. As in other parts of the Soviet, Hebrew schools are non-existent.

Hebrew, once the pride of the Bukharian Jews, is rapidly disappearing. Only small groups of the younger people still understand the ancient tongue. No kosher meat is available here, the Jewish population confining itself for the most part to vegetarian dishes or poultry.

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