Friday, August 22, 2008

Conversion III - Bnei Menashe from India

Anonymous insists that the Chareidi community has an obligation to the Bnei Menashe. Why? As described we have a group of people living in India who claim to be of Jewish descent - they aren't - at least in the halachic sense. If you read the original article they are involved as a political football between various groups, their claims of their origin are suspect. What is done with them involves not only our relationship with India but the Christian community and every other human being in the world who claims to have some connection to the Jewish people. Are they any different than the Black Hebrews or the Ethiopians or the Nigerian tribes people etc etc? I put up the original post because of the complex matrix that they are part of. It is not simply that a generic non-Jew decided to become a Jew - converts and moves to Israel. What exactly is your problem? [it would also be helpful you if picked a name other than anonymous]

Anonymous's comment to "Conversion II - Bnei Menashe from India":
This post reflects utter ignorance and even disgusting bias ("Christians living in Manipur"). A quote like that is innuy hager at its worst.

The Bnei Menashe who make aliya from Manipur and Mizoram are largely people who were financially secure with stable lives (until aliyah). Many of them and especially the younger people have university degrees. But their businesses and their education mean nothing when they come to Israel, cultural gaps making it nearly impossible to use them. Instead, they mostly become agricultural and factory workers. But they don't complain, and are happy to have been able to come as a community to the Land of Israel. Yes, happy. Because they believe.

I am more familiar with Mizoram than with Manipur, but haven't noticed any significant differences between the olim from the two places. If anyone thinks (based on a post like this) that Mizoram is a poverty-ridden, war-torn country, simply take a look at the Wikipedia article, or do a Google search for local websites. Seems to me that if you grow up there, it is a far easier and safer place to live your life than Israel!

Regardless of any of this, there is no halakhic issue involved. Everyone agrees that regardless of the legends, they require full conversion to become Jews. And that is exactly what they do. And they are frum. And they lives of deep commitment to Torah and mitzvot.

Why more could anyone want or ask of them? Why exactly is Rabbi Eidensohn making an issue out of this? And why is the charedi community (which RDE represents) not doing the proper Torah thing here?

Shabbat Shalom


  1. For the life of me I don't know why the Bnei Menashe want to convert.

    After all, look at history. The Khazars were a world power until they became Jewish. Then look what happened.

  2. "But their businesses and their education mean nothing when they come to Israel, cultural gaps making it nearly impossible to use them."

    Why should that be??

    The educational system on Mizoram is based on the United Kingdom's system, due to nearly a century of British and Christian presences in Burma.

    Education from kindergarten on is in English.

    Why would olim from Myanmar be any more disadvantaged than olim from Great Britain or the US who are also Anglophone??

    "If anyone thinks (based on a post like this) that Mizoram is a poverty-ridden, war-torn country, "

    This is from the gov't of Mizoram's website:

    "Poverty Of The People

    According to Government of Mizoram figure, number of families who are lying Below Poverty Line/Level (BPL) who are in object poverty = 56.07 per cent."


    The entire Mizoram is a notified backward area and is categorised under "No Industry State". The State perhaps, is the most industrially backward state in the country."

    Then there is the rat based famines that occur every few years. In fact Mizoram is bracing for a famine now because rats have already destroyed the standing rice crops according to the BBC.

    More than half of Mizoram's population of nearly 900,000 are farmers.

    The Mizoram agriculture department anticipates a crop shortfall of at least 75% in 2007-2008 because of farmers not planting.

    "The rats would wipe out three to four hectares of paddy cropland in one night. We would see our crop standing the night before but next day it would all be gone, eaten away by the rats," said Chaltanga.

    "When it happened, our people just starved and hundreds of angry young Mizos like me picked up weapons to fight a government that showed no concern for us."


  3. It's time to bring only Jews to Israel.If we don't discuss these issues now, within a few years Israel will no longer be the State of the Jews.

    Seventy percent of emigrants from the Former Soviet Union are not Jewish, the Falash Mura continue to pour in from Ethiopia, Jewish organizations roam the world and bring here quasi-Jews from all sorts of tribes.

    We returned to our homeland after 2,000 years in exile in order to build a Jewish, Zionist state here, not a Foreign Legionaries country.

    Israel should institutionalize a mechanism that would examine candidates for aliyah and make sure they are Jewish.


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