Queens—specifically Rego Park and Forest Hills—is home to many Bukharan Jews from Central Asia, the result of emigration since the 1970s. Rego Park is sometimes given a “-stan” suffix (like the countries of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) and is nicknamed “Rego Parkistan.”
108th Street in Rego Park has been called the “Bukharan Broadway” or “Bukharian Broadway.” Many Bukharian restaurants and shops can be found in the area.
Wikipedia: Bukharian Jews
Bukharan Jews, also Bukharian Jews or Bukhari Jews, (Hebrew: בוכרים, Bukharim) are Jews from Central Asia who speak Bukhori, a dialect of the Persian language. Their name comes from the former Central Asian Emirate of Bukhara, which once had a sizeable Jewish community. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the vast majority were evacuated to Israel or the United States, while others have emigrated to Europe or Australia.
Currently, Bukharian Jews are mostly concentrated in the U.S. cities of New York, Arizona, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, as well as in Israel, Austria, Russia, France England, Australia, Argentina, and Uzbekistan. New York City’s 108th Street, often referred to as “Buharlem” or “Bukharian Broadway” in Forest Hills, Queens, is filled with Bukharian restaurants and gift shops. They have formed a tight-knit enclave in this area that was once primarily inhabited by Ashkenazi Jews (many of the Ashkenazi had also become more assimilated to wider American and American Jewish culture with successive generations).
On the beginning of the Jewish New Year 5765 (2005), the Bukharian Jewish Community of Queens (mainly Rego Park and Forest Hills) celebrated the opening of the Bukharian Jewish Congress. This establishment further reflects the growing Bukharian community in Queens and their desire to preserve their identity in an ever-changing world.
The Soviet Jewish Americans
by Annelise Orleck, photographs by Elizabeth Cooke
Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group
Far removed from Brighton Beach culturally but similarly insulated and close knit are two ethnic enclaves created by Soviet Jewish immigrants from Georgia and Uzbekistan. Both have established islands within the larger Russian Jewish communities of Forest Hills and Rego Park, Queens, where they keep mostly to themselves, praying in separate synogogues, celebrating in their own restaurants. The larger of the two groups consists of Bukharan Jews from Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Since (Pg. 122—ed.) the 1970s, more than 35,000 Bukharan emigres have created a bustling ethnic enclave in Forest Hills, with Central Asian restaurants, barber shops, specialty food stores and five Bukharan synagogues giving 108th Street the nickname “Bukharan Broadway” (Gorin, Newsday, 1995).
New Immigrants in New York
by Nancy Foner
New York, NY: Columbia University Press
Far removed from Brighton Beach culturally but similarly insulated and close knit is another large ethnic enclave created by Central Asian Jews from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Since the 1970s, more than 35,000 of these “Bukharan” emigres have created a bustling community in Forest Hills, with restaurants, barbershops, food stores, an synagogue that together have given 108th Street the nickname “Bukharan Broadway.”
J - Jewish News Weekly of Northern California
Friday September 20, 2002
Bukharan Jews now in Queens recreate their Sukkot memories
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
NEW YORK—“There is nothing like memories of the house where you grew up,” says Berta Shakarova, who was born in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. Eight years ago, she immigrated with her family to the bustling Bukharan Jewish community in Queens, N.Y. “You never forget the way your childhood house and neighborhood looked.”
My husband shared her reaction when we recently visited his boyhood home in Forest Hills. He was equally surprised by changes in his old neighborhood, which coincidentally is Shakarova’s new one.
When David grew up during the 1950s and 1960s, he circulated in an Ashkenazi world. Today, many of the Jews who inhabit the streets of his youth hail from further east, from the Central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, once republics of the former Soviet Union north of Afghanistan.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bukharan Jews have sought a better life in Israel and the Queens neighborhoods of Kew Gardens, Rego Park and Forest Hills, now home to 50,000 of them.
As David and I perused stores on 108th Street, recently dubbed “Bukharan Broadway,” we peered at exotic lettering on signs written in Russian.
New York (NY) Times
The Silk Road Leads to Queens
By JULIA MOSKIN
Published: January 18, 2006
For more than 2,000 years, Central Asia was home to the Bukharians, one of the most isolated Jewish communities in the world, who evolved a unique language, blending Farsi and Hebrew, that scholars call Judeo-Persian and locals call Bukhori. According to the Research Institute for New Americans, about 40,000 Bukharian Jews have settled in New York since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Bukharians established a thriving commercial strip along 108th Street in Rego Park, now called Bukharian Broadway, and opened several kosher restaurants that serve their traditional cooking, based on charcoal, lamb, rice, beets, potatoes, carrots and spices like cumin, paprika and chili.
Rego Park (now sometimes called Regostan) and Forest Hills became home to the Bukharians, most of whom observe an orthodox form of Judaism.
08-17-2006, 01:57 PM
Chiburek-eating Jews from Central Asia. Many reside in Buharlem, which occupies the general Forest Hills and Rego Park area. 108th Street is where their culture booms. Ironically, the number 108 in Russian is a deragatory slur for low-lived retards. Shit, that is fu*ked up. From ten pharmacies, to ten restaurants, to ten delis and grocery stores, a Russian video store, an HSBC Bank and a Rite Aid, 108th Street is booming and bustling with midget grandmas and cigarette-smoking, cheap cologne wearing teens.
Forest Hills 72
Friday, July 6, 2007
What is the Nicest Section of Forest Hills?
108th and 63rd. AKA Bukharian Broadway.
July 6, 2007 11:56 AM
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Big plan for Metro corner
The Ruskies don’t care about Metropolitan Avenue. They all seem to congregate around 108th Street/Bukharian Broadway.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Chowhound’s Daily Roundup
OUTER BOROUGHS: Samsa with a Smile in Rego Park
Grilled sweetbreads and lamb rib kebabs are delicious and satisfying.
Hearty, meaty Bukharian is what’s cooking at Zhemchuzhina, Rego Park’s newest spot for this sturdy chow from Central Asia. “Everything was outstanding,” declares hreisig, who strongly recommends samsa, the tandoor-baked meat pastries that are a cousin to India’s samosa. Grilled sweetbreads and lamb rib kebabs are delicious and satisfying, as are cold noodles with bits of roast beef and lots of coriander seed.
Countering the richness of the meat dishes are a sprightly cabbage salad and a tomato-onion dish, both seasoned with a light, spicy dressing. extrajos, who endorses the borscht and beef noodle stew, much prefers Zhemchuzhina to Salut, just a block away on this stretch of 108th Street dubbed “Bukharian Broadway.”
Posted by Mark Hokoda | Monday, October 1, 2007 at 4:35pm
Thank you for this article! It is very interesting! We hope to come back with other articles as interesting and exciting! Not a lot of blogs hold my attention for long – yours was one of the exceptions.
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