31 Jan Ten Bnei Menashe girls celebrate their bat mitzvah in Jerusalem
Ten 12-year-old girls, all of whom are recent Bnei Menashe immigrants brought on Aliya from India by Shavei Israel, celebrated their Bat Mitzvah recently at a festive gathering of family and friends hosted by Girls Town Jerusalem where they are enrolled as students.
“We were delighted to attend this very special and moving Bat Mitzvah celebration, which symbolizes the right of passage that the girls and their families have undergone in returning to the Jewish people,” said Shavei Israel Founder and Chairman, Michael Freund . “We are grateful to Girls Town Jerusalem for the warmth, love and acceptance that they have showered upon these recent immigrants, some of whom arrived here barely six months ago. May they grow up to be proud Jewish women here in the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.”
“We are determined to continue with our efforts until all the remaining 7,000 Bnei Menashe still in India are able to return to Zion,” he added.
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 4,000 Bnei Menashe have made Aliya thanks to Shavei Israel over the past 15 years, including more than 450 last year. Another 7,000 Bnei Menashe remain in India, all of whom wish to make Aliya.
Below are photos of the bat mitzvah celebration, organized by Shavei Israel and hosted by Girls Town Jerusalem. (Photo credits: Laura Ben-David)