Participants enjoying matzahs and matzah balls.
(photo credit: JOHNATHAN HAUKIP)
The Shavei Israel Hebrew Center in Churachanpur, India hosted a pre-Passover "Model Seder" for over 550 members of the Bnei Menashe community Thursday.
One of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, the Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh who were banished from Israel over 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire. Over 3,000 Bnei Menashe have immigrated to Israel through Shavei Israel, with another 7,000 still waiting in India to make Aliya.
“Passover symbolizes the Jewish people’s deliverance, and the Seder embodies the deepest hopes of the Bnei Menashe community, which has been dreaming for so long to make Aliyah,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund.
“In the past two years, we have brought 1,000 Bnei Menashe to Israel,” Freund said. “We hope the remaining 7,000 members of the community still in India will soon experience the same taste of freedom -- next year in Jerusalem!”
According to a press release sent by the organization, "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."