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This is Shalom from the Silk Road, the story of the Bukharians.
SINGINGReader: Zedekiah was the King of Judah and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.
Then I decided to explore the residential part of this mediaeval town.
And in the ninth year of his reign, it came to pass that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came on to Jerusalem and the city of besieged.
And many were the people of Judah who were carried away unto the land of Babylon.
Cara Rosehope: It's a hot, hot day in Uzbekistan in Central Asia.
I'm in the ancient Silk Road city of Bukhara about 100 ks north of the Uzbek border with Afghanistan. I've ventured out of my air-conditioned room, and done the historic mosques and madressas.
The Bukharians are the Jews of Central Asia, and they have lived at the crossroads of the East for millennia.
Today they stand at a crossroads in their identity, feeling the pressures of modernity and diaspora.
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.
And when in time Babylon fell to Persia, the captives were freed.
And though some returned to Jerusalem, others did, by their own choice, remain.