The Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India gathered last night (Sunday) to hold special communal prayers for the people of Israel and for the safe return of those who were kidnapped to Gaza, as the Hamas attack on Israel left over 800 Israelis dead.
"The Bnei Menashe in northeastern India were stunned by the horrific Palestinian terror attack that took place on Shemini Atzeret,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman, Michael Freund. “They immediately organized special communal prayers and the recitation of Psalms on behalf of the people of Israel and those who were kidnapped. Many of the Bnei Menashe have family members serving in combat units in the IDF and they also offered special prayers for Divine protection for Israel's soldiers as they confront the enemy".
The Bnei Menashe, or sons of Manasseh, claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who 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 just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. They continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.
Thus far, Shavei Israel has made the dream of Aliyah, immigration to Israel, possible for over 5,000 Bnei Menashe and plans to help bring more members of the community to Israel. Currently, there are 5,000 Bnei Menashe awaiting their return to the Jewish homeland.