Mizoram Jews prepare for December Bash
Various Jewish communities in Mizoram have come together to celebrate Israel's recognition of the "Bnei Manashe community of the Northeast India".india Updated: Aug 24, 2005 02:58 IST
Various Jewish communities in Mizoram have come together to celebrate Israel's recognition of the "Bnei Manashe community of the Northeast India" as the descendants of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel.
Forming what has been called the All Mizoram Israel Committee, the Mizo-Israel communities have decided to organize a Hnam Khawmpui (National conference) in Aizawl in December to thank Jehovah for having been recognized as Israelites. A feast is being organized during the three-day celebrations.
There are also more than ten Mizo-Israel communities other than the Bnei Manashe, such as the Beth Hashem Midrash, Ephraim Union, Chhinlung Israel People's Convention, the Church of God Israel International, Beth Israel and many others in Mizoram, all of whom claim to be "descendants of one of the ten lost tribes of Israel".
Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the Israel's Rabbinical Court Shlomo Amar had formally recognized the Bnei Manashe of Northeast India as the "children of Manashe", which was announced on March 31, 2005. The announcement has drawn the world's attention to Mizoram where the majority of the community lives. "Though we are from different communities, we accept the Chief Rabbi's recognition of us being the descendants of Israel. We have decided to come together under our
Israel identity," said Lalrinawma, general secretary of the committee.
Apart from Mizoram, there are members of the Bnei Manashe community among Kukis in Manipur and among Mizos in Tripura, Meghalaya and Myanmar. There are more than a thousand people who follow Judaism in Mizoram alone while many other Mizo-Israel members are still Christians. According to Elisheva Zodingliani, co-coordinator of the Amishav Hebrew Centre in Aizawl, the Chief Rabbi's recognition has drawn more people to Judaism.
The movement however hasn't been without its voices of dissent. "Although we fully accept that we are descendants of Israel we don't see the necessity to convert to Judaism at all," said Khawlromawia, member of the Church of God Israel International. However, all of them believe in the "Alyah" or the Return to Zion, or Israel, as prophesized in the Old Testament. "Yes, we firmly believe that all the children of Zion will be brought back to Zion from all over the world," Khawlromawia said. Referring to Israel's pull out from the Gaza Strip, he said this more than ever tells of the prophesy of Alyah coming true in the not too distant future.
(By arrangement with Newsfile)