At the Crossroads of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-Speaking Worlds: The History of Bukharian Jews (2-Part Series)
The culture and history of Bukharian Jews is situated at the unique, intersection of Sephardic, Mizrahi and Russian-speaking Jewish identities. Through this 2-part learning series, we will explore the multilayered, rich story of this millennia-old community—discovering the ways in which they have developed their mosaic culture through a dynamic interaction with the dominant and changing societies surrounding them. Our discussion will also shed light on how their experiences fit into the broader historical saga of the Jewish people.
Born in Uzbekistan, raised in Seattle, and currently based in New York City, Ruben Shimonov is a Jewish educator, community builder, social entrepreneur and artist with a passion for Jewish diversity and pluralism. He previously served as Director of Community Engagement & Education at Queens College Hillel—where he had, within his vast portfolio, the unique role of cultivating Sephardic & Mizrahi student life on campus. Currently, he is the Founding Executive Director of the Sephardic Mizrahi Q Network—a grassroots movement building a supportive, vibrant and much-needed community for LGBTQ+ Sephardic & 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. Within both organizations, Ruben has used his artistry in Arabic, Hebrew & Persian calligraphy to enhance Muslim-Jewish dialogue and relationship building. In 2018, Ruben was listed among The Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” young Jewish community leaders and changemakers. He has lectured extensively on the histories and cultures of various Sephardic & Mizrahi communities. Among his speaking engagements, he has been invited to present at Limmud Seattle, NY and U.K. He is also an alumnus of the COJECO Blueprint and Nahum Goldmann Fellowships for his work in Jewish social innovation.