Spotlight on Other Communities: the Bnei Ephraim of India
The Shavei Israel website is a great place to research the many fascinating Jewish communities that can be found in the farthest corners of the globe. We write about all kinds of Jewish groups, not only those with whom we are actively involved. In this new series as part of the “Roots” newsletter, we are turning the spotlight now on some of these “Other Communities.”
This week, we’d like to introduce you to the Bnei Ephraim of India. No, not the Bnei Menashe from northeastern India. This group, which takes its name from the biblical Menasseh’s brother, hails from the Andra Pradesh state on India’s southeastern coast. It is a small community of 120 families which were founded in the mid-1980s when a former Christian preacher, Shmuel Yacobi, visited Israel and became convinced that his people’s past was Jewish, not Christian.
Shmuel’s son, Yehoshua, immigrated to Israel in 1993. We profiled him previously here. Shmuel’s brother Tzadok has also visited Israel, as did a group of 8 Bnei Ephraim who toured the country in 2011. During that time, they met with Shavei Israel’s Educational Director Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum – here’s the story.
You can read more about the Bnei Ephraim on our website.