Thursday, 14 October 2021 | A total of 235 new immigrants from the Bnei Menashe community in India landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Wednesday as part of the Yom HaAliyah [Immigration to Israel Day] national celebration on October 12–13.
Hailing from Manipur in northeast India, they have preserved Jewish traditions across generations. Their move to Israel is the result of a government decision promoted by Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata and the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization.
“The olim [immigrants] who landed this morning join the more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe who already live in Israel and have been integrated into Israel society successfully, and I would like to congratulate each and every one of them for finally returning home, to the Land of Israel,” said Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel. “We still must not forget that 6,500 members of the community are still waiting in India and longing for the moment when they, too, will be able to come to Israel and it is our duty to do everything we can to make this happen.”
The Bnei Menashe, or sons of Manasseh, claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel that were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the borders of Burma and Bangladesh.
Throughout their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. They continue to nourish the dream of one day returning to the Land of Israel.
Since the inception of the State of Israel, bringing the Jewish people home has been a priority to the state and to God. It has been one of the greatest joys of Bridges for Peace to partner with others to help impoverished Jewish people come home. We partner with Ezra International in the former Soviet Union and South America and with Shavei Yisrael to bring home the lost tribe of the Bnei Menashe from India. We have also helped Jews from Ethiopia. In fact, we have helped just over 83,000 Jewish people in their aliyah (immigration to Israel) process. Thanks to your donations, thousands of Jewish people’s dreams of returning to Israel are coming true. Thousands more await our help. Will you pray about helping more Jews come home to Israel? No gift is too small or too large. Together we can bring hope to many families.
Posted on October 14, 2021
Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on October 13, 2021. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Laura Ben David, courtesy of Shavei Israel/JNS.org
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