Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bnei Menashe: Lost Tribe of India Jews return to Israel

The Bnei Menashe are returning to Israel
Are they really a lost tribe of Israel?   It is a fascinating story.  Here is some history on the Bnei Menashe.  Chin-Kuki-Mizo people emigrated from east Asia into north eastern India during various waves over about 6000 years. They were head hunters and animists. Christian missionaries who encountered them in the 19th century noted their beliefs mirrored many Old Testament stories.
While we are preparing for the Sikpui Feast,
The big red sea becomes divided;
As we march along fighting our foes,
We are being led by pillar of cloud by day,
And pillar of fire by night.
Our enemies, O ye folks, are thick with fury,
Come out with your shields and arrows.
Fighting our enemies all day long,
We march forward as cloud-fire goes before us.
The enemies we fought all day long,
The big sea swallowed them like wild beast.
Collect the quails,
And draw the water that springs out of the rock
In 1951 one of their leaders had a vision they were really Jews and one of the lost tribes of Israel.

There are efforts to see if the Bnei Menashe have the genetic markers of other Jewish populations.  Some tests show no markers.  Although there are some questions on the test methology.  Interesting that one of the proponents of the Bnei Menashe's status is a Jewish guy who grew up in an Irish neighborhood in Manhattan:
Halkin's love affair with the story of the lost 10 tribes goes back to his childhood. "I grew up in Manhattan, in a largely Irish neighborhood, and the Irish kids always made trouble for us," he says. "We would run away from them, or else we would fight with them and lose. Once, one of my friends told me that there was an enchanted place called Brooklyn, where Jewish kids beat up gentiles.
Ann Althouse notes there are a lot of candidates for "lost tribes of Israel."  As far as the theory of the Irish being one of the lost tribes of Israel, I would not recommend discussing that loudly in an Irish bar (I was once having a beer in a bar in New York years ago and a Portuguese guy came in and loudly discussed this theory--and he might as well have been discussing in the 1980s how great Maggie Thatcher was for cracking down on Bobby Sands and the IRA). And that bar was in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan, where perhaps Hillel Halkin (noted above) grew up.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

I had to stop Anonymous comments due to spam. But I welcome all legitimate comments. Thanks.