After devastation, finding a reason to smile

After devastation, finding a reason to smile

David Thangkhoneh and Esther Doungel were among the Bnei Menashe refugees from Sajal Beit Shalom, in northeast India, where their house – and the whole village – was burned down by the Meitei mob on May, 2023. They were among those who were rescued by the Indian Army and brought to their relief camp in Imphal. After staying in the Army camp for three days the couple finally reached Shavei Israel relief camp in Kangpokpi on May 10th.

As if the situation wasn’t desperate enough, Esther was in advanced stage of pregnancy when all this was happening. Upon arrival at the Shavei center it was determined that she was in labor and she was immediately taken to the Kangpokpi hospital by Shavei’s staff. But turns out she had to be transferred to Senapati hospital because her condition was critical.

Thank God, after a brief hospitalization Esther’s condition stabilized and a healthy baby boy was born. Through all the joy, there was an immediate challenge: to find a competent mohel in Kangpokpi amidst all of the violence and displacement. Unfortunately the baby was not able to be circumcised on the eight day, but on the ninth day a mohel was found! With great joy, the baby was named Efraim, and on that day smiles were to be seen on every face in the relief camp.

The family is currently taking refuge in Beth Shalom in Kangpokpi. We wish them a huge mazal tov and hope for relief and more normal living conditions in their immediate future, and for them to make aliyah to Israel, as is their dream, as soon as possible.