Borukhova Hired Mr. Mallayev
Religion has been a quiet presence in a Queens courtroom in the course of the five-week murder trial of Mazoltuv Borukhova and Mikhail Mallayev, however only not often has their Jewish religion been the topic of frontal contention. Till final week.
On Thursday, Dr. Borukhova was pressured to admit that she had violated the Sabbath to inquire about shopping for a spy digicam camouflaged inside a button. However the real bother started shortly afterward, when the defendants’ insistence on observing the Jewish day of relaxation conflicted with another inviolate interval of repose — particularly, the judge’s vacation.
The Talmudic details of the dispute can be explained shortly. However to understand its energy — why, as an example, it produced the first public disagreement between two defendants who have so far resisted any temptation to blame one another for the killing of Dr. Borukhova’s husband in October 2007 — it is necessary to grasp how religious and ethnic identity have pervaded the case.
The allegations — that Dr. Borukhova employed Mr. Mallayev, her cousin by marriage, to kill her husband, Daniel Malakov, during a bitter custody dispute over their daughter — have scandalized the small neighborhood of Bukharian Jews. All three households belong to the ethnic group, which immigrated, virtually in its entirety, to the United States from Uzbekistan and bleach extensions different Central Asian international locations after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Bukharian Jews preserved their religion for almost 3,000 years under the Persian Empire, Muslim khanates bleach extensions and Communist rule. They have settled primarily within the Forest Hills section of Queens, clustered round synagogues that are conventional if not extremely-Orthodox — and now discover themselves riven by the family feud.
Each Dr. Borukhova and Mr. Mallayev told the police that they’d never be involved in something illegal because of their religious beliefs.
Dr. Borukhova’s relatives sit day by day within the second row of State Supreme Court, murmuring prayers from books printed in Russian and Hebrew. Dr. Malakov’s family sometimes hiss at them across the aisle.
Covering their hair in accordance with religious guidelines for married ladies, Dr. Borukhova’s sisters wear bouffant wigs that turned a difficulty when prosecutors claimed that an eyewitness saw one sister at the homicide scene.
Their mom, who, depending on which side is to be believed, either threatened Dr. Malakov that he would soon “go to God” or merely mentioned the almighty would punish him, opts for a fuzzy cloche hat.