Shavei Israel | Bnei Menashe lecture touches visitors

Bnei Menashe lecture touches visitors

Bnei Menashe lecture touches visitors

‘This generation has experienced an extraordinary miracle, foreseen by the prophet Ezekiel in his vision’, states the musical anthem of the Bnei Menashe, an important part of their ethnic and cultural heritage expressing their love and devotion to the Land of Israel. Indeed, public interest in exploring one’s roots and strengthening ties with the heritage of ancestors, has recently reached unprecedented proportions, especially in Jewish society.

Singing this anthem became one of the most emotional moments of an exciting Bnei Menashe event that was held last week. This initiative was one of the many efforts of the Ma’Ani Center toward preserving and studying national and traditional attributes of various lost and hidden Jewish communities all over the world.

The Ma’Ani center of Shavei Israel has already organized a series of conferences devoted to the history and current problems and challenges of the Bnei Menashe community of Manipur and Mizoram, in northeast India. These lectures, delivered by Shavei Israel staff Are open to a wide audience and usually attract a lot of attendants, among them groups of students.

This time was no exception. Some 60 guests from USA and North European countries gathered together in the Yehuda Jerusalem Hotel and enjoyed Shavei Israel’s coordinator for Bnei Menashe, Tzvi Khaute, to share the most interesting aspects of history, culture and social life of his community.

The hosts and the participants of the conference, impressed by the inspiring story of Bnei Menashe’s long journey from India to the Jewish state, prepared some very special presents for them. One was a beautifully decorated small Torah scroll that could be used by the youngest members of the community while dancing at the Simchat Torah celebration.

As a conclusion of his speech, Tzvi sang the Bnei Menashe anthem in the local Kuki language. The following is the English translation of the song, as well as some photos taken at the event:

It is so strange to me, Oh Father my G-d
Although I have been away from you for so long
You have sent my brother Judah to help me
I will announce my joy throughout the world.

My heart is fluttered with joy, my Father!
My heart flutters with joy, Bnei Menashe
I was once lost but now am found
My song was a cry for help which you answered.
I will always stand by you, Hashem
I will not abandon you ever again.

In the land that is flowing with milk and honey
There are Manna and good fragrances falling from the sky
If I can spread my wings like an eagle and fly there
I will stay there and build my nest on the tree of life.

I, your son was left only with bones
And you have dressed me with new flesh – muscles and skin
This generation has experienced an extraordinary miracle
The miracle foreseen by prophet Ezekiel in his vision.

Those who still long for the lands of the gentiles
Should be reminded of what happened to Lot’s wife
And be rushed to reach Zion before sunset
Three angels have come to call for me, to bring me home.

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Esther Surikova
Esther Surikova
esther@shavei.org