550 Bnei Menashe From India Visit Western Wall With Israel’s Chief Rabbi
JNS.org – Some 550 new immigrants from the Bnei Menashe community who recently immigrated to Israel and now live in the Galilee visited the Western Wall on Wednesday for the first time, together with the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi David Lau.
The Bnei Menashe prayed for the aliyah to Israel of the 5,000 members of their community who remain in India.
Shmuel Manlun, 40, said, “it was like a dream come true. I couldn’t hold back my tears. It feels like we are part of a prophecy being fulfilled.”
The festivities at the Kotel were organized by the Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel organization, which has been promoting the aliyah of the Bnei Menashe to Israel for two decades. Attendees included Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel; Sar-Shalom Jerby, director of the JNF Education Division; and Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, head of the Religious Council in Jerusalem.
“Seeing and touching the stones of the Western Wall was an extremely emotional experience for the Bnei Menashe. For them, it was not only a symbolic and historic event signifying a people returning to their land but also a powerful spiritual moment, unlike any they have experienced before,” said Freund.