In their festival prayers, the Bnei Menashe turn to face Jerusalem and offer a special plea to finally be allowed to make aliyah during the coming year.
"The Bnei Menashe are anxiously waiting for Israel's government to pass a decision to allow them to come to Israel," said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund.
"We hope the New Year will bring good news and that the age-old dream of the Bnei Menashe to return to the land of their ancestors will soon become a reality.”
The Bnei Menashe claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. They live in India's northeastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram.
Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.
Throughout their exile, the Bnei Menashe nonetheless continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing Shabbat, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity.
They continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel. In recent years, “Shavei Israel” has brought some 1,700 Bnei Menashe back home to Zion, including 450 in the past three years who settled in the Upper Galilee.
Around 7,300 still remain in India, waiting for the day when they too will be able to return to Israel and the Jewish people.
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