As the temperature in the shade finally dipped below 40 degrees Celsius, a deliveryman carried a two-foot-high stack of flatbread into the 17th-Century Masjidi Synagogue in Bukhara’s old city. Women and young boys followed with five-liter jugs of water and plastic bags filled with bright green cucumbers, softball-sized tomatoes, salt-roasted hazelnuts, and enough sweets to overwhelm a kindergarten classroom.
Down the narrow, winding and dusty alleys in the center of Bukhara, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a religious gathering of one of Judaism’s oldest sects was taking place under a cloudless sky.
Yuri, who asked that his last name not be published, had returned from Queens, New York, to his homeland to hold an annual dinner in honor of his deceased mother. The balding septuagenarian took a seat at one end of a 20-foot-long table. At the other end sat Rabbi Aaron Siyanov, the leader of a rapidly dwindling congregation.
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Dean C.K. Cox is EurasiaNet's photo editor.