LOST TRIBE OF BNEI MENASHE IN NORTHEASTERN INDIA CELEBRATES ISRAEL’S 67th INDEPENDENCE DAY
CHURACHANDPUR, INDIA, April 24 — More than 1,500 members of the Bnei Menashe community from across northeastern India gathered today in the town of Churachandpur in the Indian state of Manipur to celebrate Israel’s 67th Independence Day. The special event, which was held at the B. Vengnom Community Hall, featured the theme “Next Year in Jerusalem,” and included prayers for the Jewish State and the Israel Defense Forces as well as the ceremonial raising of the Israeli flag. The Bnei Menashe participants sang the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah” (“the Hope”) and read Psalm 126, which expresses their longing for Zion. They were led by Shavei Israel emissary Yehoshua Burril.
Shavei Israeli Founder and President Michael Freund said that the ceremony embodies the hopes of the Bnei Menashe to move to Israel. “The Bnei Menashe love and support the State of Israel, and yearn to make Aliya,” Freund said. “With profound optimism and hope they celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut this year in Manipur, but we join them in praying that next year they will do so in Jerusalem!”
The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who were exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire. Some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have thus far made Aliyah thanks to Shavei Israel, and another 7,000 are still in India waiting for the chance to come home to Zion.
About Shavei Israel
Shavei Israel is a non-profit organization founded by Michael Freund, who immigrated to Israel from the United States with the aim of strengthening the ties between the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world. The organization is currently active in more than a dozen countries and provides assistance to a variety of communities such as the Bnei Menashe of India, the Bnei Anousim (referred to by the derogatory term “Marranos” by historians) in Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, the Jewish community of Kaifeng in China, descendants of Jews living in Poland, and others.For more information visit: www.shavei.org.