At the Crossroads of
Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-Speaking
The Story of the Bukharian Jews
A Hunter Hillel & Qesher initiative
Wed. December 2 - 6 pm
The talk will last approximately 90 minutes
About this talk
The experience of the native Jews of Central Asia - Bukharian Jews - is situated at a unique, and lesser-known, intersection of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-speaking Jewish identities. This interactive multimedia talk will explore the eclectic story of this millennia-old Jewish community, discovering the ways in which Bukharian Jews have developed their multifaceted and rich culture through a dynamic interaction with the dominant and changing societies surrounding them. Our discussion will also shed light on how the Bukharian Jewish journey fits into the broader historical saga of the Jewish people.
Ruben Shimonov is an educator, community builder, and social entrepreneur with a passion for Jewish diversity. He previously served as Director of Community Engagement and Education at Queens College Hillel. Currently, Ruben is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the Sephardic Mizrahi Q Network, an organization that is building a supportive community for LGBTQ+ Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews. He also serves as Vice-President of Education & Community Engagement on the Young Leadership Board of the American Sephardi Federation, as well as Director of Educational Experiences & Programming for the Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee. He is an alumnus of the COJECO Blueprint and Nahum Goldmann Fellowships for his work in Jewish social innovation, and has been listed among The Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" young Jewish community leaders and changemakers. Ruben has lectured extensively throughout the world on the histories and cultures of various Sephardic and Mizrahi communities. He is also a visual artist specializing in multilingual calligraphy that interweaves Arabic, Hebrew and Persian.
A dontation will be made in Hunter-Hillel's name to The Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, a national effort focused on building and advancing the professional, organizational and communal field for Jews of Color. The Initiative focuses on grant making, research and field building, and community education.