(JTA) – Some 102 immigrants to Israel from India, members of the Bnei Menashe Jewish community, are ready to leave their absorption centre.
The olim, who came to Israel in February from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, have completed their required formal conversion to Judaism and intensive Hebrew language studies, the Shavei Israel organization, which facilitated their immigration, said in a statement. Shavei Israel is an Israel-based organization that works to find lost Jews throughout the world.
The new immigrants are set to leave their absorption center in Kfar Hasidim on Monday and move to Nazareth Illit in Israel’s north, where there is already a Bnei Menashe community, according to Shavei Israel.
“More than 2,700 years after their ancestors were exiled from the Land, the Bnei Menashe are returning home. Our task now is to ensure that they truly feel at home as well,” Michael Freund, founder and chair of Shavei Israel, said in a statement.
The Bnei Menashe is believed to be descended from the biblical tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago. In 2005, then-Sephardic chief rabbi Shlomo Amar endorsed the Bnei Menashe’s claim to Jewish ancestry, but required them to convert to Orthodox Judaism.
Some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel in recent years, with another 7,000 remaining in India.