by Michael Freund
Chairman, Shavei Israel
More than 2,700 years after being exiled from the land of their ancestors, a Lost Tribe of Israel is finally coming home.
In the farthest reaches of northeastern India, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh, live the Bnei Menashe (Hebrew for "the sons of Manasseh"). They are descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, the tribe of Manasseh, who were exiled from the land of Israel by the Assyrian Empire some 27 centuries ago (see I Chronicles 5:26).
Throughout their wanderings, the Bnei Menashe remained true to the ways of their ancestors. They observed the Sabbath, kept kosher, and celebrated the festivals. They never forgot where they came from or who they are, and where they one day dreamed of returning.
Over the past decade, Shavei Israel (Israel Returns), the organization I founded, has brought 1,700 Bnei Menashe to Israel, where they have been absorbed successfully into the Jewish state. Another 7,232 remain in India, awaiting their chance to return. And now, at last, their dream is poised to become a reality.
At a recent meeting in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, a government committee formally decided to bring this Lost Tribe of Israel back home to Zion.
This is a momentous development. It is a miracle of Biblical proportions, one that will help to strengthen Israel.
"Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth," declares the L-rd (Isaiah 43:6).
We are steadily moving forward to the great and historic day when the exile of the Bnei Menashe will at last come to an end, just as the prophets foretold.
But just what, you might be wondering, does any of this have to do with you?
The answer is: everything - if you take the Bible seriously.
It was the prophet Isaiah who predicted that the nations of the world would actively play a role in this historic process, and would help to bring back G-d's beloved people to His Holy Land.
In Isaiah 49:22, the Bible says, "Thus says the L-rd G-d: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the peoples, and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders."
From this verse we see clearly and unequivocally that the nations of the world will assist with the return of the Jewish people to Zion. Based on this, each and every one of you, as individuals and communities, has a Biblical responsibility to play a part in facilitating the return of the Jewish people to Israel.
Think about what this means: you can play a part in the unfolding of this miracle. You can "carry" the Jews back home as G-d wishes. You can help to make it happen, through your love, your prayers and your support.
Financial and bureaucratic obstacles are the only things standing in the way. We need your help to bring the Lost Tribe of the Bnei Menashe back to Israel.
So please pray for the Bnei Menashe and other lost tribes of Israel to come home, because nothing can impede G-d's will!
And please visit www.IsraelReturns.org to see how you can help.
In the book of Genesis (12:3), the L-rd makes a decisive promise to Abraham, and through him to all the nations: "I will bless those who bless you, and those who curse you will be cursed".
Notice that G-d presents each person with a very clear and unequivocal choice: you either bless Abraham's descendants, the Jews, or you curse them.
And in these critical times, there can be no better way to bless Israel than by supporting the return of Jews from around the world to Zion.
On August 24, the Bnei Menashe will be taking part in Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage event by organizing viewing parties in northeastern India. They are choosing to stand with Israel, just as they have always done.
Let's stand with them as well, and turn their dream of return into a reality.
How You Can Help:
1 - Pray: Please pray that G-d should open the hearts of Israel's decision-makers so that they will vote to allow the remaining Bnei Menashe of India and other "lost Jews" to come home to Zion.
2 - Partner with Shavei Israel (Israel Returns): Your donation enables us to bring the Bnei Menashe (members of a Lost Tribe) from India home to Israel. Please give generously so that, with G-d's help, we can soon see the miracle of return come true.