20 Sep Happy birthday: Mendel turns 90!
Mendel Kingbol just celebrated his 90th birthday, making him one of the oldest Bnei Menashe to make aliyah from India.
But even more impressive: of Mendel’s 58 grandchildren (yes, you read that right), 43 of them live in Israel. The remaining 15 are still in the Indian state of Mizoram, where Mendel is from. (Mendel himself is from Lunglei City.)
Mendel came to Israel in 2006, with the help of Shavei Israel. He was accompanied by some of his children and grandchildren.
Mendel first stayed at an absorption center in Karmiel with his daughter Netta and her family. There they learned Hebrew and studied about their new home for a year.
Mendel, Netta and her family moved to Kiryat Arba in 2008 in order to be with a more established Bnei Menashe community. Two years ago, they moved again, this time to Afula, where there is growing Bnei Menashe community. Mendel still lives with Netta and her family. Mendel’s son Yosef, his wife Edna and their six children live in Afula as well, close to their grandfather.
Mendel has a total of 9 children, some of whom are still in India. Among those who are in Israel are his daughter Malka, who is married to Gedaliah. They have three children, two of whom made aliyah before their parents, in 1999 and 2002.
Mendel’s son Edmund made aliyah in 2014. He married Sarah and they have four children. Their oldest child married an immigrant originally from Russia. Edmund and Sarah’s son Aviv died in 2010 while serving in the IDF. We wrote previously about another son, Harel Kingbol here.
Mendel’s youngest daughter Esther married Eliyashiv and lives in Upper Nazareth.
Mendel’s wife Hadassah died in 2012. She was 72.
Mendel may be one of the Bnei Menashe community’s most “veteran” members, but his legacy shows no signs of slowing down. Mendel tells us that there are several new grandchildren on the way!
Mendel’s family through him a party last week at the Givat Moriah event hall in Afula. We have pictures.
Mazel tov to Mendel and his entire extended (and still growing) mishpachah!