Bukha­ran Jews and the Dynam­ics of Glob­al Judaism

Alan­na E. Cooper
  • Review
By – November 30, 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. 

Susan M. Cham­bré, Pro­fes­sor Emeri­ta of Soci­ol­o­gy at Baruch Col­lege, stud­ies Jew­ish phil­an­thropy, social and cul­tur­al influ­ences on vol­un­teer­ing, and health advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tions. She is the author of Fight­ing for Our Lives: New York’s AIDS Com­mu­ni­ty and the Pol­i­tics of Dis­ease and edit­ed Patients, Con­sumers and Civ­il Soci­ety.

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