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September 27, 2005

Tribe of Manasseh returns to Israel

From WorldNetDaily...

An official delegation of Israeli rabbis arrived in India last week and began converting to Judaism members of a group that believes it is one of the ten "lost tribes" of Israel, jump starting a process many hope will bring the tribe's remaining 7,000 members to the Jewish state.

The Bnei Menashe say they are the descendants of Manasseh, one of biblical patriarch Joseph's two sons, and a grandson of Jacob. They live in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, to which they claim to have been exiled from Israel over 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire, and have been trying the past fifty years to return to Israel....

Rabbi Amar formally recognized the group as Jews last March. Their return to Israel had been halted in 2003 when then-Israeli Interior Minister Avraham Poraz froze their immigration, prompting Freund to turn to the chief rabbinate so Bnei Menashe members in India can be converted and can return as legally recognized Jews, circumventing the Interior Ministry.

According to Bnei Menashe oral tradition, the tribe was exiled from Israel and pushed to the east, eventually settling in the border regions of China and India, where most remain today.

In the 1950s, a man named Tchelah, the chief of an Indian village, said he had a vision, which he shared with his people, that his community was the lost tribe of Menashe. Most in his town had customs similar to Jewish tradition, but they couldn't explain why. They were told by Tchelach to return at once to Israel and embrace the Jewish faith.

Several thousand Bnei Menashe set out on foot to Israel, but were quickly halted by Indian authorities. Undeterred, many in the village started learning Jewish tradition, and began practicing Orthodox Judaism.

Tchelah's son, Shimon Kolney, was among the Jews brought to Israel by Freund that settled in Gaza.

Interesting. Actually Manasseh is  a half-tribe. They are the descendants of Manasseh, the son of Joseph. Ephraim is the other half-tribe. For some reason, though, in the book of Revelations, Mannesses is listed as a tribe as well as the tribe of Joseph. But the tribe of Dan is missing. No explanation why, but by treating the two half-tribes as tribes, the original number of twelve tribes is maintained.

As I understand it Israelis today are either of the tribe of Benjamin, Judah or Levi. The surname Cohen, Conn or it's variations denote a Levitical lineage, and the qualifications for priesthood. The so-called “ten lost tribes” then is a misnomer since three are definitely known, leaving nine to be found, if they aren't already living in Samaria, the traditional home of the nine other tribes.

Posted by Danny Carlton at September 27, 2005 05:35 AM

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The claim of those from Mizoram and Manipur may very well be true. My people, the Hrvats (Croats), are intimately connected with Israel. In fact, some of us claim inheritance within Eastern Menasheh. We who do refer to ourselves as Isarlaeans (Aramaic for "Israelites"); we are Torah observant and we use Aramaic in our worship. Our ancestors migrated from the Medo-Persian province of Harauvatya (present-day Kandahar, Afghanistan) to Europe nearly 2000 years ago, establishing the Hrvat nation (Croatia). The interesting thing about this is that Kandahar is geographically close to India. Since several people groups from Kandahar to India (Hrvats included) claim descent from Israel, from Yosef's tribe in particular, then such claims may actually be true.

Posted by: Ya'qub at April 20, 2006 11:33 PM

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