A bit of joy and a haircut

A bit of joy and a haircut

A bit of joy and hope for the future during a difficult time as friends and neighbors of the Thangjalam family, of the Bnei Menashe community in Nof Hagalil, celebrate the chalakah of little Israel Thangjalam. 

Traditional Jews often wait until a boy’s third birthday before giving his first haircut. This is called “Upsherin” in Yiddish or “Chalakah” in Hebrew. The third birthday is a significant stage in the life of a Jewish boy. It is then that he officially begins his Torah education, and starts to wear a kippah and tzitzit.

Ziru & Amina at their post-conversion wedding in Israel in 2021

Israel is the oldest son of Khayim ‘Ziru’ Thangjalam, a 26-year-old Bnei Menashe Jew from Churachandpur, Manipur, in northeast India. Ziru is a celebrity among the Bnei Menashe, and in his native India and beyond. Ziru made aliyah in 2021 along with his wife Amina, and their then four-month-old son Israel, as well as with his younger brother’s family, and a younger sister. Ziru reunited then with his aunt Dalia, who is currently living in Maalot, who he hadn’t seen for ten years.

What Ziru is well-known for is as a YouTuber of the widely popular mukbang format. A mukbang, also known as an eating show, is an online audiovisual broadcast in which a host consumes various quantities of food while interacting with the audience. It became popular in South Korea in 2010, and since then has become a huge worldwide trend. 

Ziru, with almost a quarter million subscribers, and videos that can receive well-over half a million views, is likely the only one in his format who eats kosher only. His channel, which is largely in Kuki but some English as well, proudly displays his Judaism and Jewish culture and in today’s climate, that is something special indeed.

Nowadays Ziru, or Khayim, is busy with his work in a factory in Nof Hagalil, his family’s life in Israel, and raising his children, but his videos still get many views. We wish little Israel a happy birthday and may he continue in his family’s footsteps to grow in Torah and mitzvot, and commitment to his life in his namesake, Israel. 


Photo credit: Yoel Singson