Intense Efforts To Facilitate B'nei Menashe Aliyah

The Chief Rabbinate is making intense efforts to facilitate the immigration to Israel of thousands of Indians of the Manmassi tribe, who claim to be descendants of the "lost" Biblical Jewish tribe of Menashe.

, | updated: 17:34

Last week, a delegation of the Chief Rabbinate, under the auspices of Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, traveled to the border area between India and Pakistan, where a large community of Manmassi have congregated, to directly investigate their current situation.

In recent years, many members of the Manmassi have immigrated to Israel, where they then underwent formal conversion to Judaism (instituted for the sake of removing any doubt as to their religious affiliation). However, the Interior Ministry recently decided to halt immigration that precedes conversion. Many Manmassi members who still seek to return to the Jewish people and to Israel have thus been "stranded" in India, awaiting a bureaucratic or religious solution.

The Manmassi tribe, currently self-identified as "B'nei Menashe" ("Sons of Menashe"), was made known to the Jewish world many years ago by Rabbi Eliyahu Avihayil. When it was observed that the tribe's members maintained certain ancient traditions unlike any observed in the Indian subcontinent, investigation revealed that the rituals were of Jewish origin.

The Chief Rabbinate has recognized the possible connection of the Manmassi with the "lost tribes" of Israel, and has arranged the current delegation to continue facilitating the return of the tribe to the Jewish people.

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