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Bnei Menashe -The Lost Tribe of Israel in Mizoram

My pre-travel research  told me that this is one group I must seek out and meet in Aizawl. All through the trip, in Aizawl, In Lunglei, in Thenzawl and in Sirchip, I’d seen numerous retail outlets with typical Jewish or Israeli names.

The presence of these everywhere made me think that it would be easy to find the people and was putting off the ‘finding-out’ for another day.

Right after the Chapchar Kut festival as I was walking back to the taxi with my English speaking guide Emily, I suddenly noticed this board :

I told Emily I’d like to meet them and we walked into the building and up the stairs to their office.  She went in and came back with the news that the office people were in a meeting and would be free in awhile.

As I prepared to park my bags and get comfortable during the wait, a lady came out and welcomed us in. They had interrupted their meeting to receive us. (The hospitality and graciousness is such an endearing feature of North East Indians).

There were about ten people sitting on the benches facing the worship altar. (Please excuse any errors that may arise because of my ignorance of the correct vocabulary)

Over tea and puris, the lady – the chairperson began telling us all about their people in the Mizo language and Emily intermittently translated her words.

Here are a few things I learnt :

That these descendents are now spread over Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Myanmar and number about 200,000.

That DNA testing was done a few years ago and the genetic lineage was established.

Te Bnei Menashe or descendents of Joseph, Menashe and Ephraim travelled found their way to Mizoram along the following route:

BC 722    :  Israel

BC 621    : Asuria

BC 523    : Afghanistan

BC 340   : Vietnam

BC 320   : Japan

BC 212   : Mongolia

BC 5       : China

AD 333  : Tibet

AD 1230 : Burma

AD 1304 : Plainchin

AD 1400 : Kallay Hills

AD 1558 : Mizoram

Here are a few pictures of the meeting room and the members.

     

     

Fascinating cultural migration!

Back to Mizoram Mosaic

jm

March 2012


2 comments on “Bnei Menashe -The Lost Tribe of Israel in Mizoram

  1. rabbielimallon
    March 19, 2012

    About 30+ years ago, I attended a lecture at the NYC Museum of Natural History on the “Jews of India.” This was in the days before DNA-testing, and their lineage wasn’t fully established. Interesting to read that it has now been confirmed! I also had some brief contact with the Indian Jewish community in Queens, NY, a few years later. What an interesting addition to our knowledge of Jewish history!

  2. wovensouls
    March 19, 2012

    The lady shared the document of the test results with me and in my hurry I only browsed through it. If I remember correctly the lineage was established through the maternal side – as I don’t understand the subject of genomics yet – I might be wrong in this. I could send you the details – the numbers of the lady president and the organisation if you wish.

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