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A Visit to the Heart of the Ancient Silk Road: The Jews of Uzbekistan

Hosted By: Orange County Community Scholar Program (CSP)

According to tradition, the oldest of Uzbekistan’s Jewish communities, that in Bukhara, was established more than 2,000 years ago following the Babylonian destruction of the First Temple. Other accounts tell of Jews fleeing Persian persecution more than 1,500 years ago and yet others bring Jews to Uzbekistan as merchants on the Silk Road in the seventh century. By any account, Jews in Uzbekistan have a long history. Most were artisans and merchants since land ownership was forbidden. And, like most other Uzbeks, they rode out the tumultuous history of the region, marked by invasions by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Sardians, the Qarakhanids, the Seljuks, the Persians, the Turks, and the Chinese, all who ravaged Central Asia.

Learn about this Jewish community and its history with the Orange County Community Scholar Program.

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