Bnei Menashe get Chanukah books

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A book about Chanukah laws and customs was released in the native language of the Bnei Menashe of northeastern India.

Some 1,000 copies in their native languages of Mizo and Kuki already have been distributed throughout the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, where the bulk of the Bnei Menashe live.

The Bnei Menashe, who were exiled from Israel some 500 years before the historical events that Chanukah commemorates, were unaware of the holiday until the modern era.

Shavei Israel, a nonprofit organization designed to strengthen ties between Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world, printed and distributed the book.

The Bnei Menashe claim descent from one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago.

"The Bnei Menashe are anxiously awaiting the passage of a decision by Israel’s Cabinet to allow them all to come to Israel," said Michael Freund, Shavei Israel’s chairman and founder. "We hope that this book will raise their spirits during the holiday and we pray that their dream to come to Israel will soon be fulfilled."

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