Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bnei Menashe - Shavei Israel outreach program


  1. Proselytizing at its worst.

  2. Recipients and PublicityFebruary 1, 2010 at 3:07 AM

    Maybe they have a job for Tropper.

    At this rate, with all their Indian relatives Israel may have to make room for about one and a half billion Indians, even Tropper's EJF propaganda claimed that at least a third of humanity had Jewish ancestry.

    Michael Freund's self-righteous convictions, with his krummest of ideas is frightening!

  3. "They settle mainly in the area of Jerusalem as well as in the Galilee."

    If the guys in the videos were davening in black suits and black hats, I'm sure the comments here would be singing a different tune. I'm not sure how this video adds anything new to the previous article about it.

  4. Incorrect. Even if they were wearing black suits, shtreimals, and a kapota - proselytizing is proselytizing and it would be equally condemned.

  5. Interesting.

    I don't recall the same level of interest when referring to the anuisim of Spain or Portugal.

  6. "I don't recall the same level of interest when referring to the anuisim of Spain or Portugal."

    I do. That proselytizing was condemned here as well.

  7. Is there a halachic definition of proselytizing that I'm missing here? In common usage the term is used to refer to people trying to convert other people to your religion. I don't see any evidence that that is what is happening here. The Bnei Menashe already thought they're Jewish and once they realized they have to convert and be observant to rejoin the Jewish people, that's what they wanted to do. At that point, what is wrong with giving them the instruction they need to fulfill their desires? That is the extent of the "outreach" here.

    The Talmud says if someone wants to convert, teach him some positive and negative commandments and their rewards and punishments and convert him. It doesn't say, don't dare teach him what he needs to know to convert -- that would be proselytizing!

    Of course the prospective should be reminded that there's no pressure to convert, that it's up to them, that all the nations have a share in the world to come, that you're better off not converting if you're not going to be 100% observant, that Jews are the object of a lot of hate and terror, and so on. But we have no reliable information that they're not doing this.

  8. The Bnai Menashe never thought they were Jewish. Eliyahu Avichail and Michael Freund convinced them that they were Jewish.

    They are a group of more than 9,000 people from India's North-Eastern border states of Manipur and Mizoram who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

    The claim appeared after one of their leaders had a Pentecostalist dream in 1951 that his people's pre-Christian religion was Judaism and that their original homeland was Israel.

    Linguistically, Bnei Menashe are Tibeto-Burmans and belong to the Mizo, Kuki and Chin peoples.

    They were named "Bnei Menashe" by Eliyahu Avichail because he made up some story that the legendary Kuki-Mizo founder named Manmasi was somehow Menasseh, son of Joseph.

    Prior to their conversion to Christianity in the 19th Century, the Chin-Kuki-Mizo were headhunters and animists who migrated in waves from East Asia until they settled in northeastern India. They have no written history but their legends refer to a beloved homeland they were driven away from called Sinlung/Chhinlung. Anthropologists and historians believe that it was located in China's Yunnan province and that the Tibeto-Burman migration from there began about 6000 years ago. National Geographic's Genographic Project plans to sample the gene pool of northeastern Indian tribes which may shed definitive light on their origins.

    On 1 April 2007, Michael Freund reported in the Jerusalem Post that the Bnei Menashe claim to have a chant they call Miriam's Prayer. The words of the chant are identical to that of the Sikpui Song and this article is the first known print reference to Miriam's Prayer aka Sikpui Hla.

    Freund goes on to report that according to the Bnei Menashe "a century ago, when British missionaries first arrived in India's North-East, they were astonished to find that the local tribesmen worshipped one god, were familiar with many of the stories of the Bible, and were practicing a form of biblical Judaism".

    By all empirical accounts, the entire tribe were animists at the time of the arrival of the missionaries.

    Shavei Israel, funded by Evangelical Christian groups is only interested in further blurring the lines between Christianity and Judaism by bringing persecuted Christians from all over the world to haven in Israel.

    This conveniently forwards the goals of Zionism since Zionism is a Christian theology originating in 17th century England.

  9. "Zionism is a Christian theology originating in 17th century England."

    Oh, I thought Zionism was in the Neviim, and the promise in the Torah that Am Yisrael would be brought back to their land at the end of the exile.

  10. Anon:

    That's Zionist propaganda where they like to confuse the issue of living in Eretz Yisroel with Zionism, even though the two have nothing to do with each other.

    Also notice you correctly said "at the end of the exile." The Zionists didn't wait until the exile ended.

  11. Let's see. The Bnei Menashe are convinced they come from Jews and want to join the Jewish people (the real way, with mitzvot and Torah, through conversion), and sent a letter to the Israeli govt asking for help. Shavei Israel went there and helped.

    On the other hand, Tropper marketed Judaism to non-Jewish spouses who did not consider themselves Jewish and had no interest until he promoted it to them and all the benefits like making the mother-in-law happy.

    Which one is proseltyzing and which isn't? Is it not rather clear? And how are the two situations being conflated? It would be helpful if Rabbi E elaborated on his position in detail instead of making vague insinuations. Especially considering the fact that a previous insinuation was proven wrong by this very video. They are not even primarily taking up residence in settlements, contrary to what Rabbi E thought.

  12. "The Bnai Menashe never thought they were Jewish. Eliyahu Avichail and Michael Freund convinced them that they were Jewish. "


    And what would explain the letter they sent several years ago?

  13. SZ -

    would you deny that the Kibbutz Galuyot over the last 100 years, from the 4 corners of the globe is guided by G-d? That the majority of the Jewish people now live in Eretz Yisrael? That aas prophesied by Ezekiel, the moutnians of Israel now give their fruit, and what was a barren land for 2000 years is an agricultural miracle - which has Torah significance, since there is no greater sign of the Ketz than the "zionist" miracle.

    As for end of Exile - it has technically ended now. There is not 1 single community that is prevented from returning to Israel today. This includes the USSR which collapsed and all the Jews are free to leave; Iran - the 25,000 remaining Jews can leave, but they prefer to stay; USA used to have 6 million Jews, now how many halachically Jewish people in America? Yemen, a few hundred Jews can leave, if they wish. So technically speaking there is no exile, other than personal choice to remain in exile, just as the Alexandran Jews chose to stay in Egypt during the 2nd Temple period.

  14. To say the exile has ended is heresy. It has not.

    The majority of the Jewish people do not currently reside in E. Yisroel.

    The Kibbutz Galuyot is not allowed to take place prior to Moshiach.

  15. I too would like to see any actual data behind JG's wild assertions, besides rumors and conspiracy theories.

  16. A thorough look at the Bnei Menashe phenomenon by Amir Mizroch, News Editor at The Jerusalem Post. Detailed discussion of both pro and con.

  17. A thorough look at the Bnei Menashe phenomenon by Amir Mizroch, News Editor at The Jerusalem Post. Detailed discussion of both pro and con.

  18. Aaron S - heresy according to whom? Does it deny 13 Principles? Does it deny the prophets? Even many Haredi Rabbonim (other than Satmar/NK) agree it is the end of the Galut, but don't agree it is atchalta d'geula. I think this was the view of Rav Shach. Rav Kahaneman certainly held to this , if not accepting Atchalta d'geula. Would you call the Roshei Yeshiva of Ponovetch apikorsim?

  19. Neither Rav Shach, Rav Kahaneman nor Haredi Rabbonim believe that it is the end of the galus. What on earth are you talking about?

  20. Whether you "consider" philosophically the galut to have ended or not is inconsequential. How can it be heresy to believe one way or the other? On what basis is it heresy?

    Regardless of that, Bnei Menashe believe that they are Jewish and want to convert to come to Israel and keep Jewish law and tradition. Why should they be stopped? Why is teaching them then considered proselytizing?

    "This conveniently forwards the goals of Zionism since Zionism is a Christian theology originating in 17th century England."

    LOL, right.
    Have you read Herzl? Begin? Jabotinsky? Ahad HaAm? Any actual zionist thinkers? How do you presume to speak on behalf of zionism without consulting these pioneers in zionist thought contemporary to the movement itself? Saying an idea was mentioned by someone (preceding the movement itself) hundreds of years before, that no one paid attention to, does not mean the movement was based on it or that the movement was xtian.

    I believe I've read that Jefferson or Ben Franklin (can't remember which) also mentioned Jews returning back to their homeland to fulfill biblical prophesy. Aside from the fact that they weren't xtian believers, the fact that some goy mentioned an idea in passing that no one listened to, and was not formulated as an actual policy or philosophy or practical movement, has no relevance to anything. Especially when there was a practical movement that developed later which was based not on writings of Ben Franklin or British philosophers, but on the Jewish thinkers who popularized their own ideas, which were not sourced to british, xtianity, or franklin.

    NJG what you say here is so laughable it's like speaking to someone that thinks they live on a different planet. There is nothing left to talk about.

  21. It's well known Rav Kahaneman celebrated Yom Haatzmaut - he did not say Tachanun

    also Rav Dessler's positive views:

  22. Even the far-left (farthest left as left can be) fringe of self-haters within the zionist movement did not consider their own goals to be xtian compatible or xtian-originated. Nor did they have any sympathy towards xtianity.



please use either your real name or a pseudonym.