Saturday, October 07, 2006

[ePalestine] Lost Tribe of Jews migrates to ... Palestine!

Dear friends,

As we struggle for the right of entry, return and life, this news story is surreal.

Sad. So sad,


Lost Tribe of Jews Migrates from India to Israel
Achal Narayanan
Religion News Service

CHENNAI, India (RNS) A group of 218 people belonging to an Indian tribe recently recognized as "lost descendants of ancient Israelites" will soon be welcomed to their new homes in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. 

The emigrants are members of the Bnei Menashe tribe living and practicing Judaism in northeast India. The Bnei Menashe believe they are descended from one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel who were exiled when Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in the 8th century B.C. 

Many of the exiled Israelites made their way across the "silk route", ending up in China. The Shinlung tribe, as they were also called in China, eventually migrated to Myanmar and northeast India, losing many of their Jewish customs along the way. 

There are more than 300,000 Bnei Menashes in the state of Manipur, but most of them follow Christianity. Only around 6,000 have converted to Judaism -- many in the 1970s. The rabbis sent to Manipur and Mizoram states by the chief rabbi of the Sephardic Jews, Shlomo Amar, declared the converts "descendants of the Jewish people." 

Bnei Menashe members welcomed the announcement, saying they could now "go to the Promised Land." Michael Freund, founder of Shavei Israel, an association assisting "lost Jews" to return to Israel, described the proposed relocation by the 218-strong Bnei Menashe group as "a turning point." 

"This is a major historical event," he said, "because these members of a lost tribe of Israel can return home after 27 centuries." 

Copyright 2006 Religion News Service.


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