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Queen Esther's Garden: An Anthology of Judeo-persian Literature

07 Jun 2012-
TL;DR: Moreen as mentioned in this paper presents a wide-ranging collection of texts written between the eighth and nineteenth centuries of the Jewish community of Iran, including fragments of early documents, verse renditions of biblical books, prayers, religious poetry, secular poetry, commentaries, and historical chronicles.
Abstract: This wide-ranging anthology brings to English-language readers for the first time the riches of the Judaeo-Persian literary tradition. The collection represents a variety of writings produced by the Jewish community of Iran - perhaps the oldest continuous Diaspora community in the world. Vera Basch Moreen has gathered texts written between the eighth and nineteenth centuries, including fragments of early documents, verse renditions of biblical books, prayers, religious poetry, secular poetry, commentaries, and historical chronicles. Most of the translations have been made by Moreen specifically for this anthology. Extensive notes accompany each selection to clarify its meaning in Jewish and Islamic history and legend. Judaeo-Persian texts, written in classical Persian but using the Hebrew alphabet, reflect profound Muslim influences as well as the extent of original thought and expression among Jewish-Persian writers. This welcome anthology of their literature provides access to a deeper understanding of the Jewish Diaspora experience, the Persian literary tradition, and Jewish and Islamic history.
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For Persian-speaking Jews of Iran and Central Asia, rhythms are especially informed by ingrained habits of interpreting Persian quantitative poetic meters, applied to both Hebrew- and Persian-language texts.
Abstract: Musical rhythms are connected to prosodic principles in many Jewish sacred music practices. For Persian-speaking Jews of Iran and Central Asia, rhythms are especially informed by ingrained habits of interpreting Persian quantitative poetic meters, applied to both Hebrew- and Persian-language texts. For describing and analyzing Jewish sacred music in the Iranian and Central Asian traditions, the term “prosodic rhythm” usefully highlights the importance of syllable length and other rhythmic features of a text, with broader implications for the study of Jewish sacred music and music without a steady pulse in general.

6 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Shinji Ido1
15 Jun 2017
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the vowel chain shift that occurred in the variety of Tajik spoken by Jewish residents in Bukhara, and they identify the chain shift as constituting of an intermediate stage of the Northern Tajik chain shift.
Abstract: The present article describes the vowel chain shift that occurred in the variety of Tajik spoken by Jewish residents in Bukhara. It identifies the chain shift as constituting of an intermediate stage of the Northern Tajik chain shift and accordingly tentatively concludes that in the Northern Tajik chain shift Early New Persian ā shifted before ō did, shedding light on the process whereby the present-day Tajik vowel system was established. The article is divided into three parts. The first provides an explanation of the variety of Tajik spoken by Jewish inhabitants of Bukhara. The second section explains the relationship between this particular variety and other varieties that have been used by Jews in Central Asia. The third section deals specifically with the vowel system of the variety and the changes that it has undergone since the late 19th century.

6 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a methodologically flawed analysis of the documents seriously calls into question the factuality of his portrayal of the Bukharan Jews, and more than that, it begs the question of why he chose to portray the history as he did, and whydespite its flaws-the story has been uncritically accepted in both academic and popular discourse.
Abstract: A n ancient Diaspora group, situated in the heart of Central Asia, disconnected for generations from the wider Jewish worldthese exotic and faraway images of the Bukharan Jews, which fill the popularJewish imagination, have been heavily informed by the writings of historian Avraham Yaari. In three separate books, Yaari tells of the Bukharan Jews' spiritual decay, caused by centuries of isolation from otherJewish communities. And he recounts the dramatic story of their reconnection, facilitated in the late eighteenth century by Rabbi Yosef Maman, an emissary from the Holy Land. Since the publication of Yaari's works some 60 years ago, scholars and journalists have come to refer to this story of isolation and reunion as a critical chapter in the history of the Bukharan Jews. Indeed, over the years this portrayal has been so widely disseminated that it has been commonly accepted as fact, and Yaari-as the author of the tale-is often no longer cited.' Close examination of Yaari's narrative, however, reveals that it is woven together from a few fragments of unreliable sources that contradict one another in significant ways. Yaari's methodologically flawed analysis of the documents seriously calls into question the factuality of his portrayal of the Bukharan Jews. But more than that, it begs the question of why he chose to portray the history as he did, and whydespite its flaws-the story has been uncritically accepted in both academic and popular discourse.

2 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article , a set of Bukharan Jewish family stories are examined and the metaphor of "border crossing" is used to understand Jewish history and geography in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Abstract: ABSTRACT Scholarly and popular literature dealing with the Persian-speaking Jews of Central Asia tends to divide the history and historiography of these Jewish communities along political boundaries that came into being only in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The “Bukharan” Jews are commonly portrayed as an ancient, secluded, and isolated “ethnic” Jewish group, disconnected from neighbouring Jewish communities and the wider Jewish world. Looking into a set of Bukharan Jewish family stories, this article is meant to complicate the narrative, offering “mobility” and the metaphor of “border crossing” as a different paradigm to understand Jewish history and geography in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran.