Shavei Israel | Fundamentally Freund

Fundamentally Freund

The Isaac Cardoso Center for Jewish Interpretation in Trancoso, Portugal, was formally dedicated this weekend with a special "guest" - a new Torah scroll, the first to make its home in Trancoso in nearly 500 years. More than 60 people attended the dedication, including the...

[caption id="attachment_10330" align="alignleft" width="300"] Two Bnei Menashe show their brand new Israeli identity cards while still in India[/caption] Fundamentally Freund: The return of the Bnei Menashe to our people is a tangible reminder of the power of Jewish memory to overcome all obstacles, and the inevitability...

[caption id="attachment_9960" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Bnei Menashe girl looking forward to aliyah"][/caption] On October 24, the government passed an historic decision, one that paves the way for the return of a Lost Tribe of Israel to Zion. Resolution 5180, which received unanimous ministerial approval, will allow 275 members...

[caption id="attachment_9037" align="alignleft" width="231" caption="Wedding in Warsaw"][/caption] Last Thursday evening, hundreds of guests milled about, chatting amiably as they awaited the start of the joyous ceremony. Bedecked in white, the striking bride made her way down the aisle, each step drawing her closer to the wedding canopy...

[caption id="attachment_7050" align="alignright" width="195" caption="Two Italian Marranos examine the ancient underground mikva"][/caption] Tucked away in the southeastern Sicilian city of Syracuse (or Siracusa in Italian), lies one of Europe’s least-known Jewish treasures. Down a charming, narrow street just a block or two away from the...

Fundamentally Freund: That dream of some 7,000 Bnei Menashe to come to Israel is now poised to become a reality. Thousands of kilometers to the east, in the furthest reaches of northeastern India, a long-lost community continues to nourish its age-old dream of returning to its ancient homeland, the land of Israel. The Bnei Menashe, or “sons of Manasseh,” are descendants of one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel, which were exiled by the Assyrian empire more than 27 centuries ago. The community, which numbers 7,232 people, resides primarily in the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.

 Fundamentally Freund: The passing of Avraham Zecchillo, a proud descendant of Bnei Anusim, who for years cared for his city’s local synagogue which dates back over 750 years, is a tragic blow to Italy’s Jewish community. Tucked away in a southern corner of Italy, an ancient synagogue with an unusual past is in danger of falling silent with the passing of its one and only stalwart member. Avraham Zecchillo was a proud descendant of Italian Bnei Anusim (to whom historians refer by the derogatory term “marranos”). He resided in the beautiful port city of Trani along the Adriatic coast where, he liked to say, his Jewish ancestors had lived “forever, for thousands of years.”