Their location in town reflected an intermediary position between the Muslim and the Jewish world. In Russian sources, this group of people show up as “Jewish-Muslims” (evrei-musulmane). Most academic texts dealing with Bukharan Jewish history mention the Chala, but only very few studies concentrate on that particular group, their history and their cultural and social particularities. All of them neglect the fact that among Bukharan Jews in Soviet times and today the concept of chala was and still is in use to draw a line between “us” and “them”.
Thomas Loy is researcher at the Central Asian Seminar of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. His research focusses on Oral History, Mobility, Migration and Memory in Central Asia and Afghanistan, Tajik/Dari language and literature, Jewish cultural history in Central Asia.