Foreign students experience a taste of Bnei Menashe Culture

Foreign students experience a taste of Bnei Menashe Culture

After a lot of changes and adjustments due to the coronavirus situation, including last minute modifications and adaptations, we finally managed to meet with Steven Klein, a professor at Ben Gurion University, and his students, who were on a Jewish cultural trip to several communities around Israel to be introduced to a variety of people whose Jewish backgrounds are hardly typical for the students who are from largely Anglo countries and Western Europe.

We finally settled on meeting in Acco, a lovely community with about 30 Bnei Menashe families. Our Marketing Director and often-speaker for Shavei Israel, Laura Ben-David, planned to meet with the group and present about the history and aliyah journey of the community that is believed to be descendants of the lost tribe of Menashe. As long as she was going to be visiting the community in Acco, she planned to also meet with some of the Bnei Menashe to do some cultural research on the community including learning about some of the unique traditional fabrics worn by the different families and learning about some of their foods and even tasting them.

Somehow mistakes, miscommunications and traffic all converged to make two programs, er, converge… Suddenly, instead of a photographic, theoretical presentation, Steve Klein’s students were able to remove their masks briefly and have a real-life impromptu meal prepared by Bnei Menashe dressed in their traditional clothing.

No one complained, and everyone went home happy.

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Laura Ben-David
Laura Ben-David
laura@shavei.org