India's lost tribe recognised as Jews after 2,700 yearsBreaking News
A rabbinical court, dispatched with the blessing of Israel's Chief Rabbi, travelled 3,500 miles to Mizoram on India's border with Burma to perform the conversions using a Mikvah - ritual bath - built specially for the purpose.
There were emotional scenes as the Oriental-looking hill people professed their faith, repeating the oath from Deuteronomy: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One."
Over the next five years up to 7,000 members of the Bnei Menashe are expected to emigrate to Israel after years of pleading their case were met with official recognition.
Since the 1950s a small group of tribal people, who live in the jungle-clad hills that straddle Burma, India and Bangladesh, have claimed descent from the Lost Tribe of Menasseh, the remnants of which are said to have found their way to China, Thailand and north-eastern India.
Their claims gathered force in the 1980s when amateur anthropological studies purported to have discovered similarities between their ancient animist rituals and those of Old Testament Judaism. Although the claims are still treated with great scepticism by Mizoram's majority Christian population - and have never been examined by professional anthropologists - the Bnei Menashe are unshakeable in their belief. Not everyone in Mizoram is convinced, however. Where he sees"deep and extensive commonalities" between ancient Judaism and Mizo tribalism, others see Zionist ambition and plenty of wishful thinking. Local historians point out that the Mizo tribes were animists whose oral history and tradition was lost forever when the Welsh Presbyterian missionaries arrived in Mizoram in the late 1890s.
comments powered by Disqus
- Now it’s the University of Louisville’s turn to remove a Confederate statue
- A fortress built by Alexander the Great after he conquered Jerusalem has been discovered
- Yale students protest decision to keep Calhoun’s name
- Six maps that will make you rethink the world
- Middle Tenn. State President Wants to Strip Confederate General’s Name From Building
- The historian and cartographer Bill Rankin has developed a new way to visualize slavery
- Paula S. Fass says young Americans need required national service
- Historians are now trying to show that the gay revolution also took place in the midwest
- The Unconference Movement Grows – And Historians Are Taking the Lead
- New appeal to "Bring Back Military History"