(1890 - 1968)
Yakov-Hai Pinkhasov was born
in 1890 in Bukhara to a wealthy, respected
and influential family of Zion Mullo Niyoza
and Rivko Pinkhasov. By the line of his father
Yakov-Hai Pinkhasov was the great-grandson
of well-known rabbi Yosef Mamon Maaravi, who
had arrived to Bukhara from Jerusalem in 1793.
Being very clever, noble, brought up person,
Pinkhasov had authority among the Jewish population
of Bukhara. In 1917, at the age of 27, Pinkhasov
was elected the head of Jews of Bukharian
Emirate by Emir Seid Alimkhan and given a
title of Kalontar. Professor D. Ochildiev
writes about duties of a Kalontar:
At the head of a community was a kalontar, chosen by the community
[actually its most prosperous members]. Results of elections were
subject to the obligatory statement of the Kushbegi, the second
[highest ranking] person in the state, and then by Emir. The Kalontar
had administrative and judicial authority. The circle of his competence
included: the commercial, family, fine, criminal and other disputes
frequently arising among Jews and so forth... Onlly the kalontar
could represent Jewish citizens of Emir before authorities of Emirate
and to bear the personal responsibility for duly payment of the
head tax by them called "djizia" and other additional
During the period of his short service (up
to 1920), Pinkhasov won the respect and love
of the Emir and persuaded him to cancel the
"9 humiliating laws for Jews of the Emirate."
In 1920, there was a revolution in Bukhara,
the Emir fled to Afghanistan with his riches.
That same year Pinkhasov was arrested because
of his closeness to Emir of Bukhara. When
the news of his arrest reached Jerusalem,
Yakovs brother Moshka immediately went
to Bukhara, where he bribed the prisons
chief (he was later sent to Gulag) and took
Yakov with him to Jerusalem.
The difficult journey to Jerusalem from Bukhara was over land to the Black sea
and then by ship through Istanbul.
Pinkhasov did not live long in Israel.
After some time he with his wife and sons
went to Calcutta, India, where they opened
a big cafeteria. After 10 years, he had sold
the cafeteria and had left with family for London where he lived for the next several years.
Pinkhasov finally returned to Israel to retire
and died in Tel
Aviv at the age of 78 in 1968.
To this day old residents of Bukhara among
Bukharian Jews remember Pinkhasov, the last
leader of Jews of Bukharian Emirate. He was
best known for his kind acts and his portrait
hangs in a historical museum in the Ark fortress
and in the Bukharian Jewish synagogue in Bukhara.