CHURACHANDPUR, India, Dec. 29 – Thousands of members of the Bnei Menashe community from across northeastern India gathered this week to celebrate Chanukah.
As part of the holiday tradition, women from the community gathered yesterday In the town of Churachandpur in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur to make sufganiyot (traditional jelly-filled doughnuts).
“The story of the Maccabees’ heroic determination to preserve their Jewish identity resonates very strongly with the Bnei Menashe, who, with tremendous effort, have still managed to cling to their faith and that of their ancestors through the centuries,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman Michael Freund. “Even in far-off India, the flame of Jewish survival continues to burn brightly.”
Freund added: “May these women cook up those calories next year in Jerusalem!”
The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Manasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes exiled from the Land of Israel more than 2,700 years ago by the Assyrian empire. So far, some 3,000 Bnei Menashe have made Aliyah thanks to Shavei Israel. Another 7,000 Bnei Menashe remain in India waiting for the chance to return home to Zion.