Top Jew in Kazakhstan

Top Kazakh Rabbi: In My Country There’s No Problem

In the fictional version of Kazakhstan in the hit movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” the only Jews in the country are larger-than-life caricatures that get trotted out for a ceremonial “Running of the Jew.”

In the real Kazakhstan, the top rabbi, Menachem Mendel Gershowitz, has never been forced to run anywhere. In fact, Gershowitz said, Kazakhs frequently treat him like royalty.

“One time, I spoke with a Kazakh businessman,” Gershowitz told the Forward. “He asked me: ‘Tell me, Bush is Jewish also, yes? Clinton is Jewish?’ They think the opposite — not that Jewish is strange, but that Jewish is the whole world.”
Read on, very funny.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.