Article Tools

18 Bnei Menashe couples married in Jerusalem

Ynetnews Staff, Ynetnews, March 3, 2008
Couples, who recently made aliyah from India with the help of Shavei Israel, marry simultaneously at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem

It was a festive wedding indeed. On Sunday, 18 couples, who recently made aliyah from India with the help of Shavei Israel, were married simultaneously at the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem, in a festive ceremony with 18 chupot (Jewish wedding canopies) one next to the other.

The 18 couples are among the group of 230 Bnei Menashe that Shavei Israel brought on aliyah a few months ago. Over 350 guests, including friends, family and loved ones, attended the ceremony, which was organized by Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel. Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, the rabbi of Shavei Israel, performed the ceremony.

According to Freund, the wedding was a unique event: "For the first time, 18 Bnei Menashe couples - equal to "Chai" - were married under the wedding canopy in Jerusalem. This symbolizes their successful absorption into Jewish and Israeli society, and we wish the couples a lot of joy and success," he said.

Shavei Israel is a Jerusalem-based organization that reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. It works with various groups around the world, such as the Bnei Menashe of northeastern India, who claim descent from a lost tribe of Israel, the Bnai Anousim ("Marranos") of Spain, Portugal and South America, the Subbotnik Jews of Russia, and the "Hidden Jews" of Poland from the time of the Holocaust.

The organization also engages in the absorption of new olim in Israel, including providing assistance with housing, employment, and professional training.

Keywords: Bnei Menashe, Indian Jews, Israel, marriage