Nine new immigrant Bnei Menashe couples marry in group ceremony
Nine Bnei Menashe couples, all of whom immigrated to Israel from Manipur, India, last month, married this week in a group ceremony at Shavei Israel’s absorption center in Kfar Hasidim under Jewish law in the wake of their formal conversion.
The nine couples were among 162 new immigrants who arrived in Israel last month thanks to Shavei Israel. They all hail from the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, on the border with Burma, and which is home to the largest concentration of Bnei Menashe in India. The new immigrants all plan to settle in Tiberias, Israel, after they leave Kfar Hasidim.
“After realizing their dream of making aliyah and returning to the Jewish people, the 10 Bnei Menashe couples now have an additional reason to celebrate,” said Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund. “They have now been remarried in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony which symbolizes the new lives they are building here in the Jewish state. We wish them a hearty mazel tov and much joy, health and success here in Israel.”
The Bnei Menashe are descendants of the tribe of Menasseh, one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They came to Israel thanks to Shavei Israel, which has made the dream of aliyah possible for over 3,000 Bnei Menashe over the last 15 years and plans to bring more members of the community to Israel. Currently there are 7,000 Bnei Menashe awaiting their return to the Jewish homeland.
The couples married today included: Batyah and Hillel Haokip, 23 and 25; Daniel and Mayah Haokip, 38 and 36; Gideon and Tehila Haokip, 42 and 37; Sara and Yoel Khongsai, both 25; Shimson and Hadasha Lhanghal, 29 and 26; Asher and Orit Lhouvum, 44 and 43; Avshalom and Galith Singson, 41 and 34; Eliazar and Tabitha Singson, 47 and 45; Itzhak and Mala Vaiphei, 42 and 43.
Some of the brides had their hair and makeup done and wore wedding gowns while others wore traditional Bnei Menashe skirts with white tops.
Here is a selection of what might be the most memorable wedding album of the year. All pictures by Laura Ben-David.