The Bnei Menashe gathered in the entrance area of the Kotel with tears in their eyes, singing songs which expressed their deep desire for Zion.
Yosef Tungnung added, "Ever since our childhood we see this Western Wall on the picture, but today we get a chance to pray here."
The olim walked with great excitement towards the Kotel and stood for a long time next to it.
Michael Freund, founder and director of Shavei Israel, which is responsible for the Bnei Menashe aliyah and their absorption, asked the new immigrants to pray for the aliyah of the 7,000 Bnei Menashe remaining in India, who are very anxious to come to Israel.
"When you stand there and you turn to God, plead with him to keep the aliyah of Bnei Menashe going and to bring home all of the lost tribe of Bnei Menashe," he told them. "Your return to this very holy place, 2,700 years after your ancestors were exiled from this land, is nothing less than a miracle. It is a miracle from God.
A Jewish tradition of 27 centuries
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.
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 sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. And 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. Another 7,200 still remain in India, waiting for the day when they too will be able to return to Israel and the Jewish people.
"The Bnei Menashe story teaches us about the power of the Jewish sparkle which exists in all of us," says Freund. "Their ancestors were exiled from this land 2,700 years ago, and they wandered in the Diaspora throughout the generations, but never forgot where they came from and the place they dream to return to."