If you’re a longtime JCF fund holder, you’ve probably spoken with Igor Musayev at some point—he’s JCF’s Associate Director of Financial and Investment Services. What you may not know is that Igor, like many of our staff, also has a charitable fund with JCF. In this interview, he talks about his involvement in creating a new synagogue in the Midwood area of Brooklyn to serve young Bukharian families, how his JCF fund helps to support the growth of this young community, and why founding synagogues is a family legacy.
JCF: Tell us about the synagogue you were instrumental in founding and now serve as its treasurer.
Igor Musayev: Our shul is called Mekor Baruch (“Blessed Source”), and it was founded to serve the needs of young Bukharian families in my neighborhood. We started it about a year ago under the leadership of Rabbi Yisrael Kaikov. I moved to the Midwood area in Flatbush, Brooklyn, about two-and-a-half years ago with my wife and children. While there was a growing number of Bukharian families in the area, the synagogues nearby were Syrian and Ashkenazi. So we thought to ourselves, “Why not just start our own?”
JCF: Has the idea taken off?
IM: Yes. We now have 15 families who are members. We rent space from a nearby Ashkenazi shul, where we meet every Shabbat and holidays. We also have a learning program during the week and a very successful Rosh Hodesh program for ladies.
JCF: What role does your JCF fund play?
IM: Like all synagogues, we have expenses—the biggest being rent. I put money aside in my JCF fund, received an immediate tax deduction, and now have a fund I can use to donate money to the shul, which just got its 501(c)3 designation. Having a fund helps me to plan ahead and be able to donate money to sponsor shul activities. In December, Mekor Baruch organized a Chanukah party at the auditorium of the Young Israel of Flatbush, which to our surprise attracted 200 people. The program included a magic show, raffles, and music and hot food.
JCF: You mentioned that starting a synagogue is a family legacy of sorts. How so?
IM: My great-grandfather’s uncle—Rabbi Shlomo Moussaieff—was a wealthy merchant who is said to have started one of the first banks in Bukhara. He moved to Israel and started a Bukharian shul in Jerusalem in the late 1800s, which included four synagogues and apartments to house 25 poor families. To this day, it is known as the Moussaieff Shul in the Old City of Jerusalem. It consists of a complex of eight synagogues. It was one of the first synagogues built in Jerusalem during that time period. I like to tell people that I couldn’t help but start a shul—it’s in my blood.