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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What After Aliyah ?

G-d willing we are on the verge of making Aliyah, no matter what we will still make it one day. However just wanting to be in Israel should not be our aim. What after Aliyah will you do to make a living? Where in Israel will you stay after Conversion? What is the profession that which is in demand? etc. We need to ask ourselves every possible question prior to Aliyah.

Aliyah in one hand is making a spiritual journey towards holy hand. On the other its just going abroad (our of India). The difference is that we don’t have to worry about our tickets and lodging for 6 months. In any case we have to work for our livelihood wherever we are. What after six months are we going to do? Do we really think that we have to start from the scratch? Its high time for us to think of the future. Its crucial for every individual to get ready to face life out there.

Do we really intend to work as maid nurse? Or in a hotel? I don’t think so, I knew well that no Bnei-Menashe think of such in their life to work as a maid servant, not even in their wildest dream. But we do now in Israel. Many Bnei-Menashe woman works in Israel as a maid nurse. (I don’t mean to criticize them, but using them as an example) Do we ask why?

First, we work in such industry out of love for Israel and of being a Jews. Anyhow we have to work for our livelihood. We really don't care where we work as long as we are in Israel. We have no definition to express our love for Israel.

Second, we have no professional background to obtain respectable job. Can we ask further why don’t we have professional background? The answer is simple, it is the product of spending our time and our life in pursuit of leisure in Manipur (India). We never know what ‘work’ is all about. We now realize those were the days we could have use our time to garner and learn some professions which will help us live a better live in Israel.

Most of us seek on how to procrastinate time; analyzing and speculating the time for aliyah will not bear any fruit for us. Let time decide it. Its none of our business either. Its not too late to choose our  profession and anyone not too old to learn.

So Far So Good :

I am sorry to reflect Bnei Menashe in a critical point of view. Every coins has the other side. The good things that we achieved is that we never fail to be present at the synagogues and public gatherings and conferences. (May be to advertise ourselves and fear of marking absent?) In the past 6 years we can see development in the field of religion. Most woman take part in celebration of Rosh Chodesh every month and the number increases. Use of Mikveh, Torah and Hebrew classes, seminars, public gatherings on high holidays are worth mentioning.

Bnei Menashe in general are honest and shy, but they are fun-loving people as well. They love to get-together, visiting one another is common practice, sharing opinions and moreover they are creative in nature. Youths are the central figure of the community; they take responsibilities in religious circles.

After reasonable period of years of say ‘misunderstanding’ amongst different communities, we now compromised and we all come under one umbrella, not because we forget what we did, but we forgive each others.

Ever since, with the thought of aliyah and longing to go to Israel raise amongst Bnei-Menashe, 95% of the population practices Orthodox Judaism. The drive to lead all the communities under orthodox is conducted under the wings of Shavei Israel known as ‘Shavei Fellowship’. This fellowship is responsible for the growth and development of Bnei Menashe in religious field and each member are bound to teach Torah and basic tenets of Judaism, which I am part of it.

The trend of more Bnei Menashe heading toward Orthodox Judaism indicates their longingness to return. It’s not a good living condition or good life that we desire, but a religious environment, or simply to live in Israel is what necessitate us to long for. When the love for Israel becomes high, you will be blessed with a mind which will initiate the strong will within self to think of a way out to go to Israel. That is what I’ve experienced. The desire and yearn for Israel was so strong that I made it to Israel to have a glimpses of it, to breath its air, I feel like I finally got freedom. My experience in Jerusalem was amazing. I think I’ve got a taste of once in a life time experiment.

I return to India after 3 months of rigorous study of Torah in Yeshivat Mechon Meir, to impart the knowledge to my Bnei Menashe brethren.

Lastly, we the people of Bnei Menashe has the right to return in our forefather’s land. We feel we have been denied thisrights for a long period of time. We pray to our Jewish brethren to acknowledge the plight of us.

Help us to achieve what we have longed for thousands of years.

Shalom !
Yonathan Haokip

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