Bnei Menashe Need YOUR Help

Tags: Am Yisrael, Diaspora, Hebrew, Aliyah, Zionism, Nationalism

By Laura Ben-David

Six months ago I took a life-changing trip to India. Not to the beaches of Goa, nor to the temples of Mumbai or even the cultural festivals of Kolkata. My trip had one purpose: to bring Bnei Menashe home - to Israel.

As marketing director of Shavei Israel, this was somewhat out of the scope of my job description. But ever one for an adventure, I jumped at the opportunity. The experience was extraordinary, and I fell in love with the Bnei Menashe.

These special people, believed to be of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, have finally been returning to their lost homeland after 2700 years. In November Shavei Israel brought 250 of them to Israel. And I had the honor of escorting fifty of them on their Aliyah flight.

In six months they have made enormous leaps in bridging nearly three millennia of exile. Three months at the Shavei Israel-sponsored absorption center were entirely focused on learning Hebrew, learning for their conversion and learning how to live in a land that was lost to them for so incredibly long, yet never forgotten.

By the end of the three months they had all formally converted - all 250 of them, individually. They all officially made Aliyah, becoming Israeli citizens. Each family now has their own apartment in Tzefat where they are able to support one another while being supported and embraced themselves by the warm, religious community there. With their departure from the absorption center, space has been made for the next group of Bnei Menashe who had already been preparing for the biggest move of their lives, to fulfill a dream that is shared by every Bnei Menashe you may meet.

Unfortunately, the Aliyah date came and went. Brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents...all waiting in their little village in northeast India, ready to go at a moment's notice. Houses sold, luggage packed; many already left their places of employment. But the Aliyah didn't happen. Because, quite frankly, the money wasn't there. It was heartbreaking. But all was not lost.

Major efforts have been made, and half of the million dollars necessary to bring them has been secured. Enough to at least commit to make the Aliyah happen...and it has begun! By the end of June all 250 will have arrived. We just pray we can raise the rest of the money by then.

Though I'm not much of a fundraiser, these people are too important to me; I had to put my own comfort aside, and just put it out there. So I am turning to you... If you find it in your heart, please help make the Bnei Menashe Aliyah dream a reality.


Laura is a marketing consultant, writer and photographer. Originally from New York, she made Aliyah from Boca Raton, Florida in 2002. Before joining Shavei Israel, Laura managed all social media at Nefesh B’Nefesh. Laura is the author of the book, MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal, a memoir of her move to Israel, as well as numerous published articles both in print and digital media.


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About the Author

Laura Ben-David
Inspired by her Aliyah experience, Laura began writing and never stopped. She is the author of the book, MOVING UP: An Aliyah Journal, a memoir of her move to Israel. She has spoken about Israel and Aliyah all over the United States and Israel. Formerly the head of social media at Nefesh B'Nefesh, Laura is currently the director of marketing at Shavei Israel, as well as a marketing consultant.

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Tags: Am Yisrael, Diaspora, Hebrew, Aliyah, Zionism, Nationalism