A Queens teeager embarks on a journey to discover her roors
Образование | Гимназия Квинса

I came to the United States when I was three years old and do not remember my birthplace, Samarkand, Uzbekistan. I often wondered about my homelandwhat kind of food did people eat? What did they wear? What about everyday life? Through the Bukharian Teen Lounge project, sponsored by a UJAFederation grant, I had a unique opportunity to reconnect with my roots.

The Jewish Child Care Association's (JCCA) Bukharian Teen Lounge is a place to go after school. During the school year, the Lounge also has an internship program at the only museum in New York dedicated to preserving Bukharian culture. It is located on the sixth floor of the Queens Gymnasia, a middle school and high school in Rego Park, Queens. The museum founder and executive director, Aaron Aronov, created the exhibits to safeguard the old ways of the Bukharian culture.

The museum consists of several rooms and each room tells a different story about our culture and history. It was fascinating to find out so many new things about our past. I truly did not expect it to be as interesting as it was.

One of the rooms had pictures of famous musicians and real instruments. We tried to play the instruments and heard the unusual sounds they make. We even played dress up and tried on the jomeh. The jomeh is a fancy robe that is worn on special occasions. It is very beautiful and has many different decorations including gold embroidery. The best part is that there is a dance for the Jomeh that includes the whole family. Even today we wear these robes at weddings and bar mitzvahs.

For two months last winter a group of seven interns met once a week and got comfortable with the museum. We studied the different objects and got to know their history so we could present this information to our families.Mr. Aronov made it interesting for us by demonstrating the use of these objects. For example, he told us about the deg. The deg is a huge pot that was used to make the famous plov. Plov is a traditional Bukharian meal that consists of rice, beef, carrots, sometimes sweet or sour raisins and chicken. The deg was big because there were family and guests to feed so the food was made in big portions. This showed us just how welcoming Bukharians are. Also there was the ovtoveh, a watering can used to pour the water on the person's hands in order to wash them before the meal.

The two months flew by.In January 2008 our parents and grandparents were invited to the museum to see what we learned.We were all nervous because we wanted our presentation to be perfect.As a surprise, Mr.Aronov gave each one of us a jomeh to wear. This gave our parents the feeling that they were back in Bukhara.

The tour began when we told our guests how our ancestors were absorbed into [is this correct wording?] the Babylonian Empire and later migrated to the Central Asian lands that are now part of the former Soviet Union. Then we showed the visitors around all the rooms.Each one of us was assigned to a room.

My job was to present the backyard and kitchen exhibit. Our elders were stunned that we knew all the names and purposes of the objects. They were so proud and happy that their young children and grandchildren knew the ideas and traditions of our people, even though most of us never experienced them first hand.My grandmother and the other visitors told us stories of how they used a certain object and said they felt that they were back home.

In one of the rooms there was the garoveh, a crib. My family told me stories of how I used to sleep in the garoveh when I was a baby.This crib had a mattress that was made of a certain material thought to help a baby sleep well and grow bones properly. The material was made from the clear, thin peel of chickpeas.

Under the mattress was a bowl. Bukharians had a system to direct urine into the bowl because there were no diapers then. Apparently it worked well and kept babies clean. My mom told me how she used to wrap me up because it would stop me from moving around and I slept longer. She told me how I used to try to escape out of the sheets but I couldn't.I would start to scream and my older sister would run to my mom to tell her I was crying.

Not only does the garoveh bring back some memories, but so does the shulhon. The shulhon is a little multipurpose hut in the backyard. At times musicians would sit and play there; at other times meals were served there and later the children would sleep inside when the weather was nice.

When I was a baby in Samarkand we had a shulhon and my aunts who were young at that time would sleep there. They told me how I would jump on them and start bothering them to wake them up in the morning.

We had a huge backyard with a little pool, a bathroom, and apple, cherry, pear and peach trees. We also had grape vines and some chickens, roosters and sheep. The animals in our backyard were our meat supply. They were properly taken care of, slaughtered and checked to make them kosher. Keeping kosher was especially difficult during the Soviet rule.

After a tour around the museum, we sat down with our families for some feedback. «I didn't expect this because I was surprised how you brought us back to our homes, our past, our childhood,» said my grandmother Osnat Priyeva. «I personally felt like I went 50 years back in time.»

Everyone thanked Aaron Aronov for his hard work and imagination in putting this museum together. «I felt happy and relieved when the students knew what they were talking about because one day they will pass it on,» Aaron said.

We had a great time thanks to the efforts of Mr. Aaronov and Zhanna Beyl of JCCA's Bukharian teen lounge. Also thanks to the hard work of my fellow museum interns, Mazal Avezova, Liron Babichov, Daniel Kikirov, Osnat Kuyunov, Michael Mirzakandov, and Ilya Yakutilov, our program was a success. I am very grateful and happy that I was able to learn such valuable information about my heritage and my birthplace.

To find out more about this program or to visit the JCCA's Bukharian Teen Lounge please contact Zhanna Beyl, coordinator for Bukharian teen services,

bukharianteens@ jccany.org

Ilonna Priyeva is a junior at Forest Hills High School in Queens

Благородная миссия:

Почти все мы покинули места нашего прежнего проживания с болью в сердце, ибо каждый из нас оставил там могилы отцов и матерей, братьев и сестер.Наш народ на протяжении всей своей...

Celebration of success. Leadership awards of 2009:

On June 24, 2009, The Jewish Child Care Association, aka JCCA and Association of Bukharian Jewish Youth of the USA “Achdut Unity,” hosted a formal dinner award ceremony...

Встреча поколений:

Интересное, удивительное событие произошло 17 июня 2009 года в НьюЙорке. Во всяком случае, для наших авлодов: Некталовых, Исхакбаевых, Хаимовых, Галибовых, Фузайловых...


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