Group of Olim from Northeast India Also Launch New Grassroots Website To Share Their Story and Build Community – DegelMenashe.org
FAITH NEWSWIRE – Tel Aviv, Israel — Today, the B’nei Menashe community leaders in Israel announced the successful launch of a crisis relief effort to aid members of the B’nei Menashe Jewish community in Northeast India. The organization has raised sufficient funds to provide 14 tons of staples to the locked-down region. The food was distributed to community members waiting to be allowed to make Aliyah to Israel. Photos can be seen in the news section on the recently launched community website www.DegelMenashe.org.
The group is now raising additional funds to deliver more desperately needed staples like rice. Fundraising has been led by the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and the non-profit organization Scattered Among the Nations.
Degel Menashe is a non-profit organization recently launched to help the B’nei Menashe community of Israel and those members in Northeastern Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram. Information on the community, its origins, and its current activities can be found at www.DegelMenashe.org.
“Our community has been emigrating to Israel since the 1980s and today there are more than 5,000 B’nei Menashe in Israel with 4,000 still waiting in Northeast India to join us,” said Isaac Thangjom, the Degel Menashe Project Director and a 1998 immigrant to Israel.
Thangjom continued, “Our statement of purpose calls for assisting the B’nei Menashe community in Israel by encouraging its integration in Israeli society, advancing it educationally and vocationally, helping to develop its younger, Israeli-born generation, and working to preserve its cultural heritage, and in India, by strengthening its institutions and furthering its immigration to Israel by all possible means.”
The new Degel Menashe website will serve as a home for information about the B’nei Menashe community and developments in it. Key among them at the present moment is the COVID relief effort. However, the site also features news items and articles dealing with all other features of B’nei Menashe life in Israel and India. Degel Menashe also posts frequently on its Facebook page.
Degel Menashe Boardmember and noted author Hillel Halkin said, “The B’nei Menashe, who trace their disputed origins thousands of years back to the biblical tribe of Manasseh, have written and are writing a small but unique chapter in Jewish history. Degel Menashe seeks to be part of it. We would like others to know about us and to join us in our efforts.”
More information on the B’nei Menashe community and information on how to donate to the relief effort can be found at www.DegelMenashe.org. The site also features information about the Oral History project, musicology project, vocational fellowships, and working with the elderly.
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About Degel Menashe
Degel Menashe grew out of an oral history project, involving hundreds of hours of interviews with elderly B’nei Menashe in Israel, which was begun in 2017 under the sponsorship of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. This project sparked the idea of founding an organization for the purpose of assisting the B’nei Menashe communities in Israel and India in meeting the many challenges facing them. With this in mind, Degel Menashe was established in 2019 and recognized in the same year as a Non-Profit Organization by the Corporations Authority of Israel.
Why Degel Menashe
Degel means a flag in Hebrew, and our name of “Menashe’s Flag” derives from the account in the book of Numbers of how, when the twelve tribes of Israel camped around the tabernacle in the desert, each flew its own standard. The emblem on that of the tribe of Menashe, according to Jewish tradition, was the re’em or oryx, a long-pronged antelope known for its strength and beauty. We have made it our logo.