The Jewish community in Manipur is building a combined seminary and kibbutz. I recently sent a letter by slow mail to hundreds of our supporters and I thought that I might repeat the sending through our list serv, as follow:
Dear Kulanu supporter,
We would like to give you an update on the situation and progress of the 5000 B’nei Menashe in Manipur and Mizoram in Northeastern India who are practicing Jews. Two hundred have emigrated to Israel and formally converted to Judaism. The number of practicing Jews in Mizoram and Manipur is growing and it is hoped that many of the original 5000 will be given the same opportunity to convert.
To facilitate this process, construction of a seminary and kibbutz will start this fall in Manipur. The seminary will train 50 teachers for adults and children who, after a three year course, will teach in synagogues and schools throughout Manipur and Mizoram. The faculty of the seminary will consist of both B’nei Menashe and Israelis. The seminary will consist of several classrooms, a dining room and a synagogue.
The kibbutz will be used to expand and deepen the Jewish education of families for 6 months before making aliyah. About 20 families will work at the kibbutz at any one time, supporting themselves with kibbutz industry. Huts will be built at the kibbutz to accommodate the families.
This project has been designed primarily by the communities in Mizoram and Manipur with the collaboration of the first generation of immigrants who have successfully completed absorption in Israel. The results will be that more members of the community in Mizoram and Manipur will be able to convert and make aliyah and the size of the remaining community who formally convert to Judaism will enlarge.
Rabbi Avichail has raised $15,000 for this project. (A significant amount of money has been raised in B’nei Menashe communities.) To finish, $10,000 is needed. Some of you have visited Rabbi Avichail and the B’nei Menashe in Israel and know how far a dollar is stretched in his hands.
We urge you to start the New Year 5757 by becoming one of the initial supporters of this aliyah. And perhaps some day you or your children will visit Manipur, Mizoram, or Israel to meet the B’nei Menashe who have remembered their origin and proudly know what their future brings.