The 7,200 members of the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India ushered in the first night of Hanukkah with joy and ceremony, as they continue to nourish the hope of making aliyah in the near future.

“For most of their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe did not observe Hanukkah nor were they aware of its existence until the modern era. This, due to a very simple reason: their ancestors were exiled from the land of Israel some 560 years before the historical events which Hanukkah commemorates,” Shavei Israel Chairman and Founder Michael Freund said, adding, “But as part of their return to the Jewish people, they have embraced the holiday and made it their own, celebrating it together with Jews everywhere. The Bnei Menashe still in India are anxiously awaiting a decision by Israel’s government to allow them to come home to the Jewish state, and we pray that their dream will soon be fulfilled.”

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