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Al Strap

Question: If the "Bnei Menasheh" are genuine Yehudim (Jews) because they are descendants of Menasheh, son of the Biblical Patriarch Jacob, why do they require conversion to Judaism? Does Rav Amar SHLIT"A suspect that they may really be Goyim (Gentiles)? If so, why spend so much money, time, and effort on them? There are numerous real Jews in Israel who are starving physically and/or spiritually. Let us help them first!

Keith Dawid

THE BENEI MENASHE ARE YEHUDIM IN THEIR EMUNAH!!!THEN THEY ARE REALLY YEHUDIM!!!DO NOT TAUNT THEM!!

marie

To think these people maintained customs for 1,000's of years without any formal teaching, rather just simple 'tradition' is an awesome thought.

M. D'Souza

Congratulations, Mr. Freund!

That is an excellent, exciting report! Read about it in A-7 on Tuesday, and in the Jerusalem Post, Wednesday. Also saw the video of the Khuallam dance (of the Mizos) - unless it was an Israeli dance - that accompanied the A-7 report. It was good!

You are blessed for doing the L-RD's work in bringing home those who were dispersed to the remotest part of India. In Zechariah 10:9, G-D said, 'I will sow them among the peoples, and they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, and they shall return.' That's what we just witnessed with your bringing the Mizo Jews back home.

You've brought home to Israel some cute Kukis! That's what the earliest immigrants to the Mizo hills were known as - Kuki. There are others - the Chins, the Mizos who immigrated from China and the Orient, into these remote hills of the India sub-continent.

One wonders whether the name - Barak River in the Cochar district of Mizoram - was influenced by the presence of these Mizo Jews there. The rolling hills of Mizoram may have reminded the ancestors of the Bnei Menashe of the homeland they left behind in Israel. Their present generation is blessed for having an emissary like you to bring them home.

The literacy rate in Mizoram is the second highest (89%) in India. First is Kerala, from where the Cochin Jews have already immigrated to Israel. So these Bnei Menashe immigrants will not find it difficult to go for higher studies, be productive and useful citizens of Israel.

Congratulations once again for your persistence! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sabzi

To Al - saying they're descendants of Jews is not the same as saying they're Jews. To be a Jew one must be descended from Jews specifically through the mother. There has obviously been some mixing with other, non-Jewish groups here, and it's impossible to know for any individual if they go back matrilineally, so they all must convert to be sure.

Al Strap

In reponse to Sabzi: Thank you for confirming my original point. As they are probably not Jewish, they need Geirut (conversion). According to commenters on an identical article (by the same author) that appears at the Web site of the Jerusalem Post:
* Most Poskim (Rabbinical authorities) consider them non-Jews, because they have been separated from the Mesorah (Jewish tradition) for centuries and are surely assimilated.
* The group conversion they have undergone is probably not valid, as a personal Kabalat HaMitzvot (commitment to observe the Commandments) is required of each convert.
Accordingly, our limited resources should instead be directed to the numerous real Jews in Israel and the Diaspora who are suffering from physical and/or spiritual starvation!

mike, Vienna, VA

Listen, Mr Al Strap, the only "real" Jews in "Israel" are the Amir brothers, which is why you are in the pickle you are in. Now, there are as many as a million Bnei Menashe out there. That's 100,000 bayonets of infantry at least as observant as the Hebrew-speaking goyim of Tel Aviv and probably far more willing to fight and die for the sanctification of the name of God. Furthermore, unlike the women of the Hebrew-speaking goyim of Tel Aviv, the women of the Bnei Menashe actually have babies instead of careers. So don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

SamT, London

Dear Michael,

I am humbled by your work in returning these wonderful Jews to the land of Israel.

I am humbled by their enduring faith & love for Hashem.

May Hashem bless you and the Bnei Menashe of India.

Sabzi

Al, please don't twist my words. I said that we can't be certain about how many of them and which of them are Jewish. That's not the same as branding them all "probably not Jewish." What exactly are you basing that on? I don't see any way to calculate a probability here; rather, the probability is just unknown.

You're also saying "probably" again about their conversions not being valid. If you can find out from a reliable source that they did not accept the mitzvot upon themselves, I'd be interested in knowing. And too, how that important fact would have slipped by all the rabbis involved.

Your point about where we should direct our resources is very idealistic, and few people will ever follow it. Most people spend money on all sorts of non-essentials. I'd be surprised if you didn't as well. Some feel they need to have nice food, music, vacations, or internet connections in order to live a good life, and some feel like helping people convert and maximize their spiritual potential. And I'll add that if you want to follow your own philosophy, if you're going to complain about inappropriate allocation of resources, their are surely more heinous cases to expend your efforts on, and more effective ways to do it.

Gracie Miller

I personally believe the attempts of Israel to bring her people back to the homeland is wonderful and it is a Blessing to know.
The love it takes for those being brought back is born of God and one that will not be denied since God Himself has said that He would gather them Himself.
Shalom to Israel. Shalom to the children of Israel and Shalom to those who step outside themselves and reach out to others and bring Israels People Home to Israel.
Shalom to Jerusalem.

Gracie

Masha Chaya  Mastin

Through Redemption to bring Moshiach Now!
I thought I would never live to see what I have seen.With the miracle of the Jew sfrom Russia leaving Russia to the Jews of India.I thought this would not happen in my life time.

Grantman

Didn't Ben Gurion say something like "whoever is crazy enough to want to be Jewish, IS Jewish?" Makes sense to me.

I thank God and all those who helped to bring them to Israel.

"Despite wandering in exile for so long, they managed to preserve a strong sense of pride and Jewish identity, keeping Shabbat, following the laws of family purity, circumcising newborn males on the eighth day and passing down across the generations a deeply held belief that they would one day go home again to Zion."

Discussing a people who observed the above for thousands of years and not calling them Jews is, frankly, nuts and insulting. The dryness of the rabbinical decisions, in my opinion, is nothing but the Rabbis vying for political power and exercising it. Their involvement in the lives of the Bnei Menashe had nothing to do with Bnei Manashe, only their own egos.

Bless their arrival, may they grow and prosper.

Masadaman

I'm confused! First of all, how can they be decendents of Jew's..or Yahudim, if they are from Menasheh? Also, dosen't the Scriptures say they were to become a "great" nation or people? A great "multitude of people" infact? What about dna testing? Is that a valid way to prove ancestry?

avrohom M

its good to see the kibutz gulus (ingathering of the exiles) coming back to the holy land. the communist should stay out of the halachik issues this time. they riled up the ethiopian jews who returned 15 or so years ago by egging them on not to listin to the rabbonim who required mikvah etc. they said to the ethiopians you do not need to listen to the rabbis. oddly its the listening to the rabbis, the adherence to the mesorah what little customs they kept and remembered, that got both the ethiopian and the bnei menashe thru the long and dark exile in the first place.

Izaak

We need more of these people to come home. Thank G-d for these new-found Jews --- all of whom come to Israel with joy and gratitude to G-d and contribute to society rather than leech off it.

Luigi Frascati

Besides religious considerations of the character of whether these new immigrants from the Bnei Menashe of India are, in fact, Jews or otherwise deserve to be, I would also add that bringing them back to their long sought homeland is also a great triumph of democracy.

If it is in fact true the axiom of democratic rule that nations must be of the people, by the people, and for the people, then helping the Bnei Menashe of India to come home is both a democratic effort on the part of Mr. Freund that has contributed so much to the realization of their dream, just as it is on the part of the State of Israel to accept them.

And since democracy is very fragile and it takes vigilant citizenry to both uphold and defend it, even if these folks represent only a fraction of the 100,000 bayonets a commentator above was referring to, I would agree with Mr. Freund that in practicality it is not the state that helps them but, rather, the opposite.

Masadaman

Hello, I'm STILL confused. If they are from the ten northern lost tribes, then how can they be Jews? Arn't Jews decendants from the tribe of YehudaA? or Judah?

Maurice Eisenstein

This should not even be a debate. In spite of all the modern rabbis commentary, from Hashem's perspecive, they maybe more Jewish than the rest of us.

For all the Jews we loose and and have lost, to find a returning tribe is truely a blessed "miracle" and should be is only, and I mean only interpretation.

Esther,  Canada

I just attended a family wedding between a Jewish woman and a non-Jewish man. The occasion saddened me because I know that the children born to this couple are unlikely to be brought up Jewish. And this is happening all over America.

It is heartening to see this lost tribe return. We need all our Jews. When so many give up their religion so lightly and easily, thank goodness some like Bnei Menashe, take their faith and beliefs seriously and not for granted.

I Welcome to these people!

Catherine French

I found out about my mother's families' hidden Jewish ancestry. Apparently in the mid-1800s several of my French ancesters were Jews who left Judaism to escape the massive persecutioins. So I had to convert through a formal process with the mikveh despite my ancestry. It's a way of publicly declaring what I am really turning to and becoming as a convert.

Peter, New Zealand

Welcome Arbi Khiangte and all your family. Marvelous news. Now where are the other lost tribes?
Moshiach will come after the calling together of all 12 tribes. Bring them all home now!

JAMES HENDERSON

GOOD SHOW! BUT WHEN WILL ISRAEL ACCEPT THE DESCENDANTS OF THE LOST TEN TRIBES OF ISRAEL BACK TO THEIR RIGHTFULL HOME? REMEMBER THESE TEN TRIBES WERE NEVER EVER CALLED JEWS WHO LIVED IN THE NORTH OF JUDAH!
MOST OF THE END TIME PROPHESIES IN THE BIBLE PERTAIN TO THE RETURNING OF THESE LOST 10 TRIBES.
AT LEAST 95% OF END TIME BIBLE PROPHECIES RELATE TO THE LOST 10 TRIBES. CHRIST EVEN SENT HIS DISCIPLES TO THESE LOST FLOCKS OF SHEEP AS CHRIST CALLED THEM. THEN AGAIN, JEWS NEVER BELIEVED IN JESUS ANYHOW. SO.......

Andy Reaume

The vast majority of the lost tribes are not Jews of Judah, but are nonetheless members of the house of Israel.
For centuries, Jews have been misled by their religious teachers in believing that all Israelites are Jews.
Let the truth be told: the prophecies indicate they went north-west from the land of Israel, into Western Europe - as Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, Franks, and kindred peoples throughout the colonies.

Masadaman

Yes.. that's exactly what I was talking about! Thank you for the clarification.

Also, in Gen 48:17 it says.... And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.
Gen 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.
Gen 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

He was to become a "people" and be "great"
Do these people qualify as this? It dosen't seem so.

Joseph Campbell

To hear of this great event proves to me that we are truly in the last days, and the Lord's soon and expectant coming. My prayer is that the Lord will bring all His people back and provide for them.

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