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In Pictures: Indian Jewish tribe heads 'home'
Members from Bnei Menashe tribe, recognised by Israel as descendants of lost tribes, set to reunite with roots.
Last updated: 21 Apr 2014 14:05
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A "lost" Jewish tribe in India waits patiently for a flight to Israel after it lifted a visa ban.

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The Bnei Menashe (sons of Menasseh) live in India’s northeastern states of Mizoram and Manipur. In 2005, the Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar recognised them as descendants of the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel," exiled by the Assyrians in the eighth century BC.

Their emigration to Israel is supported and sponsored by Shavei Israel, a non-profit organisation that aims to reconnect "lost and hidden Jews" with the people and state of Israel. The group also funds the return of Bnei Anousim of Spain, Portugal and South America and the hidden Jews of Poland.

Around 2,000 have already moved to Israel, but immigration was halted after the government stopped giving them visas.

In October, the Israeli government cleared the visas of 899 - but between 7,000 to 9,000 wait in India and Myanmar.

Scepticism and debate over their ancestry and faith abound in Israel and India.

"I feel angry when people say I want to go to Israel for economic reasons. Israel has been promised to me, I am only fulfilling my destiny," said Mangjajin Jin, whose Jewish name is Shamaya.

He says he is looking forward to "reuniting with his roots" and hopes that the entire community will move to Israel.


/Bijoyeta Das

A synagogue in the border town of Moreh in northeastern state of Manipur.



/Bijoyeta Das

Community leaders say the tribe traveled through Persia (present day Iran), Afghanistan, Tibet and China before landing in India a few centuries ago.



/Bijoyeta Das

Shavei Israel, a non-profit organisation, is sponsoring and supporting the emigration of the Bnei Menashe tribe.



/Bijoyeta Das

Shamaya shows a photo of his sister in Israel who migrated in 2007.



/Bijoyeta Das

The Bnei Menashe tribe will be formally converted to Judaism once they reach Israel.



/Bijoyeta Das

The community says immigration is for spiritual reasons.



/Bijoyeta Das
Jewish women gather at the synagogue in Manipur for a weekly meeting.


/Bijoyeta Das

Many in Manipur and another northeastern state, Mizoram, are skeptical of the Jewish identity of the community.



/Bijoyeta Das

The British missionaries converted many to Christianity, but they continued to practice ancient Jewish rituals.



/Bijoyeta Das

Despite criticism and scepticism the community is determined to go to the Holy Land.



/Bijoyeta Das

"We work hard here. We will work there, too, but in Israel we will be able to experience Judaism fully," Shamaya told Al Jazeera.




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images:
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captions:

A synagogue in the border town of Moreh in northeastern state of Manipur.

;*;

Community leaders say the tribe traveled through Persia (present day Iran), Afghanistan, Tibet and China before landing in India a few centuries ago.

;*;

Shavei Israel, a non-profit organisation, is sponsoring and supporting the emigration of the Bnei Menashe tribe.

;*;

Shamaya shows a photo of his sister in Israel who migrated in 2007.

;*;

The Bnei Menashe tribe will be formally converted to Judaism once they reach Israel.

;*;

The community says immigration is for spiritual reasons.

;*;Jewish women gather at the synagogue in Manipur for a weekly meeting.;*;

Many in Manipur and another northeastern state, Mizoram, are skeptical of the Jewish identity of the community.

;*;

The British missionaries converted many to Christianity, but they continued to practice ancient Jewish rituals.

;*;

Despite criticism and scepticism the community is determined to go to the Holy Land.

;*;

"We work hard here. We will work there, too, but in Israel we will be able to experience Judaism fully," Shamaya told Al Jazeera.

Daylife ID:
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Photographer:
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Image Source:
Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das;*;Bijoyeta Das
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
India Jews wait for flight to Israelhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israelen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:18:04 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/747ad69410645428f2868df573016556

A synagogue in Moreh, Manipur.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/747ad69410645428f2868df573016556Bijoyeta Das

A synagogue in Moreh, Manipur.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/066918b0d92e2cc78441a30a6cb8e4ef

Community leaders say the tribe traveled through Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and China before landing in India a few centuries ago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/066918b0d92e2cc78441a30a6cb8e4efBijoyeta Das

Community leaders say the tribe traveled through Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and China before landing in India a few centuries ago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/8df09d08287678727c7f3a592fc22718

Shavei Israel is sponsoring and supporting the emigration of the Bnei Menashe tribe.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/8df09d08287678727c7f3a592fc22718Bijoyeta Das

Shavei Israel is sponsoring and supporting the emigration of the Bnei Menashe tribe.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/d8ecaa917b68200e1b58e9885c970cbf

Shamaya shows a photo of his sister in Israel who migrated in 2007.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/d8ecaa917b68200e1b58e9885c970cbfBijoyeta Das

Shamaya shows a photo of his sister in Israel who migrated in 2007.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/a3d18b82ab359505134e31a785f191c7

The Bnei Menashes will be formally converted to Judaism once they reach Israel.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/a3d18b82ab359505134e31a785f191c7Bijoyeta Das

The Bnei Menashes will be formally converted to Judaism once they reach Israel.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/ab7376fc2267cb7260b38705038bc03a

The community says immigration is for spiritual reasons.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/ab7376fc2267cb7260b38705038bc03aBijoyeta Das

The community says immigration is for spiritual reasons.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/9f484d2647bdd58faf4baae639b4cb89

Jewish women gather at the synagogue in Manipur for a weekly meeting.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/9f484d2647bdd58faf4baae639b4cb89Bijoyeta Das

Jewish women gather at the synagogue in Manipur for a weekly meeting.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/49614c99caa82b5ce9d069f1f9c0a04e

Many in Manipur and Mizoram are skeptical of the Jewish identity of the community.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/49614c99caa82b5ce9d069f1f9c0a04eBijoyeta Das

Many in Manipur and Mizoram are skeptical of the Jewish identity of the community.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/a585862ed7090503763c5c8b68e6b568

The British missionaries converted many to Christianity but they continued to practice ancient Jewish
rituals.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/a585862ed7090503763c5c8b68e6b568Bijoyeta Das

The British missionaries converted many to Christianity but they continued to practice ancient Jewish
rituals.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/2705754d87851f9b0bb0642d70c44967

Despite criticism and skepticism the community is determined to go to the Holy Land.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/2705754d87851f9b0bb0642d70c44967Bijoyeta Das

Despite criticism and skepticism the community is determined to go to the Holy Land.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/d10a750b5f584cd09e636eeefcd6e752

"We work hard here. We will work there, too, but in Israel we will be able to experience Judaism fully," said Shamaya.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/India_Jews_wait_for_flight_to_Israel/slideshow/no-caption/d10a750b5f584cd09e636eeefcd6e752Bijoyeta Das

"We work hard here. We will work there, too, but in Israel we will be able to experience Judaism fully," said Shamaya.



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