Bukharian community award for Director of Bramson ORT College


The Bukharian Jewish community of North America has bestowed its Senator Schumer Community Leadership Award on the Director of ORT Operations USA, Dr Ephraim Buhks.

In a presentation ceremony at the Bukharian Community Centre in New York “モ not far from Bramson ORT College “モ Dr Buhks was adorned in the traditional embroidered jacket called a joma, a conspicuous honour for someone who is not actually a member of this tightly-knit ethnic group.

The inscription on the award, which was presented by State Senator Charles Schumer, reads: “In tribute to your leadership in supporting the Bukharian Jewish Community; in recognition of your generous commitment to the community and the quality of a good education, occupational needs and personal growth of Bukharian students at Bramson ORT College and in appreciation for strengthening American Bukharian Jewry’s ties with the City of New York.”? Dr Buhks, who is also Director of Bramson ORT College, said he was absolutely delighted by the Bukharian community’s generosity in awarding him “モ but said the honour was ORT’s.
“I consider this honour as recognition of ORT’s contribution to the Bukahrian community because ORT did so much for the newcomers and the community in general,”? he said.
However, the community’s embrace of him personally has made a mark.
“Their spiritual leader, Rabbi Itzhak Yeshua, even told me that I was a tzaddik “モ and coming from him that is something that I will treasure my whole life,”? he said.
Links between Bramson ORT College and the Bukharian Jews stretches back some 20 years, when this historic community started immigrating to the United States in large numbers from central Asia where they had lived in varying degrees of isolation from other Jews for more than 2,000 years.
At that time, the Russian-speaking community was a perfect fit for Bramson ORT’s main role at that time of providing English language classes and basic jobs training.
“ORT became well known in their community and as we worked together we realized we could do much more by creating a partnership,”? Dr Buhks said. “A great number of our students were Bukharian and some went on to join our staff. The community is strongly Orthodox and we not only participate in their major cultural and religious events but also provide their youth with Jewish educational courses. This symbiosis created a unique relationship between the community and the college.”?
Boris Kandov, President of the Congress of Bukharian Jews of USA and Canada, said he was proud that Dr Buhks had received the first ever Senator Schumer Community Leadership Award.
“The key to success for all immigrants is the pursuit of education. And the relationship between Bramson ORT and the Bukharian community is founded on the training of our people in English, business and technology skills for successful employment. This award recognises the significant contribution of ORT, and him personally, to our community. We are looking forward to many years of close friendship and cooperation,”? Mr Kandov said.
Now it is the migrants’ children who attend Bramson ORT College and the need for English language tuition has all but evaporated. The new generation is seeking quality vocational education and is acquiring recognised higher qualifications in fields such as business, computing, and as medical assistants.
And the close relationship “モ which is nurtured by Community Coordinator Zoya Yakubova “モ means that Bramson ORT College is ready and able to respond to demand.
“We asked them what kind of courses they would be interested in, that would attract Bukharian people, and they said nobody offered studies on the history of the Bukharian Jews “モ so we did it,”? Dr Buhks said. “Then, as more non-Jewish immigrants from central Asia arrived, we adapted the course so that it now encompasses the history of the region as a whole.”?
What Dr Buhks describes as the symbiosis between the tens of thousands of Bukharians in New York and Bramson ORT College may prove to be a springboard to even broader connections: the college is looking into providing distance learning specially tailored for Bukharian communities throughout the US as well as in Israel, Canada and Austria.
“Our reach to the Bukharians is part of our reach to the Jewish community as a whole,”? Dr Buhks said. “And now that they are a successful American community they think of us as their “リBukharian college’. We are very proud that the community affiliates so much with us “モ it shows that they value us as we value them.