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Earthquake Strikes Northeast India, Causing Damage To Bnei Menashe Community In Manipur

Shavei Israel launches emergency relief fund to aid Bnei Menashe quake victims

CHURACHANDPUR, India, Jan. 4 – A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck northeastern India early Monday morning killing at least nine people and injuring more than 90. The Bnei Menashe – descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes – reported extensive damage to their community in the Indian state of Manipur.

“The earthquake struck early in the morning and buildings shook violently,” said Tzvi Khaute, Shavei Israel’s emissary to Manipur and a member of the Bnei Menashe community. “Thank G-d no one among the Bnei Menashe was injured or killed. There is, however, extensive damage from the quake.”

Shavei Israel has launched an emergency relief fund to assist members of the Bnei Menashe community affected by the natural disaster. Shavei Israel is accepting donations at: http://shavei.org/manipur-earthquake-relief/.

“We are in touch with the leaders of the Bnei Menashe community throughout northeastern India. Miraculously no one in the community was harmed, but we are concerned by reports of damage to homes and property,” said Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund.

In recent years, some 3,000 Bnei Menashe, whose ancestors were exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire, have made Aliyah thanks to Shavei Israel. Freund added, “There are still 7,000 Bnei Menashe living in India and 700 of them, many of whom were affected by the earthquake, are awaiting final permission to make Aliyah in 2016. I call on the Israeli government to bring them home to Zion as soon as possible.”

About the Bnei Menashe

The Bnei Menashe (sons of Manasseh) claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago. Their ancestors wandered through Central Asia and the Far East for centuries, before settling in what is now northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh. Throughout their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism just as their ancestors did, including observing the Sabbath, keeping kosher, celebrating the festivals and following the laws of family purity. And they continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.

About Shavei Israel

Shavei Israel is a non-profit organization founded by Michael Freund, who immigrated to Israel from the United States with the aim of strengthening the ties between the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world. The organization is currently active in more than a dozen countries and provides assistance to a variety of communities such as the Bnei Menashe of India, the Bnei Anousim (referred to by the derogatory term “Marranos” by historians) in Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, the Jewish community of Kaifeng in China, descendants of Jews living in Poland, and others. For more information visit: www.shavei.org.

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