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  • Michael Freund with a young Bnei Menashe in Mizoram India
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Return from India – A Dream Fulfilled

Ruben Ridderhof - 8 January 2018

The Bible tells us how the kingdom of Israel was divided in the time of King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, and how the ten tribes of Israel were taken into exile by the Assyrians and dispersed. Yet the prophets Hosea and Ezekiel prophesied that the Lord would one day reunite the twelve tribes. Today it seems like these prophesies are being fulfilled.

In North-Eastern India resides a unique group of people called the Bnei Menashe‘Sons of Manasseh.’ For centuries they have continued to tell each other about their roots. Zara Eleazer Singson from Churachandpurshares what his grandfather told him: “We are descendants of Israel, and one day we will return to our land.” Zara’s father longed to emigrate to Israel but passed away in 2013. “Lead a good Jewish life,” is what he used to tell him.

>> An Old Longing
With the help of Shavei Israel, an organisation who aims to help the ‘lost tribes’ return to IsraelZara’s in-laws returned to the Holy Land in 2014. Before the end of the year, Zara and his family hope to leave for Israel with a group of one hundred Bnei Menashe. Enthusiastically he shares: “We moved in 2002 from a more remote area to Churachandpur becuase we wanted to learn more about Judaism and to practice it. But in the past fifteen years, I have never regarded this place as my home. I kept praying for my dream to come true. I carry an old longing of my family in my heart, and now I am preparing to make aliyah, to return to Israel. With God’s help, we will be reunited with our family in Israel soon. There we can serve the Almighty with all of our heart and in peace.”

>> Return to Israel
The return of the Bnei Menashe is not an easy process. The Jewish religious authorities in Israel have recognised the tribe as genuine, and therefore the Bnei Menashe are allowed to come to Israel and receive citizenship under the Law of Return. However, many factors hinder this process. By local standards, the Bnei Menashe are doing quite well in India, but their resources are limited when converted into international currencies. Most of them can’t pay for the trip from Northeast India to Israel. And then there is the integration in Israel. They have to learn the language and find a job. Special integration processes were developed in Israel, but their capacity is limited.

Please pray for the Aliyah of the Bnei Menashe and their integration in IsraelMore

>> Success
Generally speaking, the Bnei Menashe that already reside in Israel have integrated successfully. The future looks bright for Zara and his family as well. Zara is a bus driver and a carpenter. Once his sons have learned to speak Hebrew, they will be able to enter into the school system and study. Thus Zara fulfils the old longing of his family, but also the words of the prophet Ezekiel“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land” Ezekiel 36:24.

Please support the return of the Bnei Menashe from India. Any amount is welcome!


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Ruben Ridderhof

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