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FW: [SERMLIST] India Jews

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  • Dianne C
    More people in motion! -- Dianne
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2005
      More people in motion! -- Dianne

      >Amar: Bnei Menashe are Descendants of Ancient Israelites
      >By Yair Sheleg
      >Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar decided on Wednesday to recognize the members of
      >India's Bnei Menashe community as descendants of the ancient Israelites.
      >Amar also decided to dispatch a team of rabbinical judges to India to
      >convert the community members to Orthodox Jews. Such a conversion will
      >enable their immigration to Israel under the Law of Return, without
      >requiring the Interior Ministry's authorization.
      >The International Fellowship of Christians & Jews (IFCJ), a group that
      >raises money among evangelical Christians for Jewish causes, has undertaken
      >to finance the process of converting the Bnei Menashe community and
      >bringing them to Israel.
      >The Bnei Menashe community consists of close to 7,000 members of the
      >Kuki-Chin-Mizo tribe, which lives in northeast India near the border of
      >Myanmar (formally Burma). For generations they kept Jewish traditions,
      >claiming to be descended from the tribe of Menashe, one of the ten lost
      >Israeli tribes that were exiled by the Assyrians in the eighth century
      >B.C.E. and have since disappeared.
      >At the beginning of the 20th century, the tribe's members converted to
      >Christianity, but about 30 years ago, some of the community began moving
      >back to Judaism and set themselves apart from the rest of the tribe.
      >A number of researchers who visited the group over the years got the
      >impression that their traditions are authentically Israelite in origin.
      >Two genetic studies carried out over the past year have attempted to
      >examine the issue. The studies compared DNA samples taken from several
      >hundred members of the Kuki tribe to a DNA Jewish profile and to a general
      >Middle Eastern profile.
      >A study performed by scientists in Kolkata concludes that while the
      >masculine side of the genetic profile has no affiliation to the nation of
      >Israel, the feminine side has a certain family relationship to the genetic
      >profile of Middle Eastern people. The difference between the masculine and
      >feminine sides may be explained by the marriage of one of the mothers of
      >the tribe, who came from the Middle East, to a local native.
      >A second genetic study is still being conducted by the Technion in Haifa.
      >About 12 years ago, the Interior Ministry allocated an annual quota of 100
      >immigrants from the Bnei Menashe tribe. So far some 800 of them have
      >immigrated and undergone conversion in Israel. The majority of them live
      >in settlements in the territories, including 250 people in Gaza's Gush
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