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“And God said to Jacob [whose name was changed to Israel] ‘Return to the land of your fathers and to your native land, and I will be with you.’”  (Genesis 31:3)

The indigenous people of the Land of Israel are the twelve tribes of Israel with a 3,500 link to the Holy Land.  The Jewish People is the only sovereign nation that has ruled Israel.  All other rulers have been foreign nations and empires that occupied Israel.  Most attempted to ethnically cleanse it of its indigenous people.

ETHNIC CLEANSING

The last invaders were the armies of the surrounding Arab countries that invaded Israel in 1948. Jordan succeeded in murdering and ethnically cleansing Judea and Samaria of all its Jews until it was liberated in 1967 when the army of the Jewish state foiled the Arabs second attempt to exterminate Israel.

The recent resolutions of UNESCO denying any connection between the indigenous Jewish nation and Jerusalem and of the UN Security Council deeming it illegal for Jews to build homes in its historic homeland are obscene, hostile and anti-Semitic.   Forbidding Jews from building in Judea makes as much sense as forbidding Arabs from building in Arabia.

THE ZIONIST MIRACLE

The Zionist miracle in our time is the return of millions of Jews from a hundred countries after thousands of years of exile and bringing them home to Israel overshadows the great biblical miracle of liberating one nation of thousands from enslavement in the one country of Egypt after hundreds of years of exile.

An amazing part of this contemporary miracle is the aliyah of the Bnei Menashe (Children of Manasseh) one of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel who were sent into exile by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago.  They have lived in northeastern India, along the border with Burma.  Throughout their sojourn in exile, the Bnei Menashe continued to practice Judaism and continued to nourish the dream of one day returning to the land of their ancestors, the Land of Israel.

“And I will return the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel, and I shall assemble them as in the beginning.” (Jeremiah 33)

THE HOMECOMING OF A LOST TRIBE

Below are the Torah Tweets commentaries on the final two Torah portions in the book of Genesis read in synagogues on January 7 and 14, 2017.  They describe the visit of my wife Miriam and me with Bnei Menashe in Kiryat Arba as they appear in our blogart project Torah Tweets: A Posdigital Biblical Commentary as a Blogart http://torahtweets.blogspot.com and in my book Photograph God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life http://photographgod.com.

NO LONGER A LOST TRIBE

Vayigash/Approached (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

“Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please, come close to me.’ When they came close, he said, ‘I am Joseph your brother!’”  (Genesis 45:4)

The reuniting of Joseph with his brothers after two decades of separation is the most emotionally charged portion of the Bible.

Bnei Menashe [Children of Manasseh] came to mind as we thought about our lives in relation to Joseph’s reuniting with his brothers.

Amazing news: Bnei Menashe, the descendants of Joseph’s son Manasseh, one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, is no longer lost.

They have been found living in northeastern India near the border with Burma.

Today, the children of Manasseh are reuniting with their family in the Land of Israel after a 27 century separation.

Throughout their long exile, they continued to observe the Sabbath, eat kosher food, and celebrate the biblical festivals.

A Google search for “Bnei Menashe” brought us to Shavei Israel www.shavei.org active in making this Zionist miracle come true.

Mel contacted its chairman Michael Freund who put us in contact with Tzvi Khaute who had come on aliyah from India.

Tzvi shared photos of his son Yaacov’s bar mitzvah celebration on Hanukah posted here.  On the bar mitzvah invitation, he wrote:

And God said to Jacob [Yaacov], “Return to the land of your fathers and to your native land, and I will be with you.”  (Genesis 31:3)

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In the next Torah portion Vayehi, Jacob blesses his grandson Manasseh.

HOME AFTER 27 CENTURIES

Vayehi/Lived (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

“Israel said to Joseph, ‘I never pilal-ti (thought/hoped/imagined/dreamed) that I would ever see your face again, and God has even let me see your children.’” (Genesis 48:11)

To this day, Jewish fathers bless their children with Jacob’s blessing: “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” (Genesis: 48:20)

We focus this Vayehi blog post on our awesome reunion with the beautiful children of Bnei Menashe.  See the photos at http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.co.il/2014/01/genesis-11-home-after-27-centuries.html

Tzvi Kahuate, Bnei Menashe Coordinator for Shavei Israel, was our guide on our visit to his community in Kiryat Arba.

Shavei Israel reaches out and assists Lost Tribes seeking to return to the Jewish people.

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We photographed Tzvi with his daughter in purple (segol) and his wife Nurit with their youngest daughter as their Superman son watched (the photo that begins this post).

Mel explained that the Jewish People are am segulah that can be translated as “purple people.”

We are a People chosen to teach the world that by mixing sky blue with red (adom) of earth (adamah) we bring heaven down to earth.

We photographed Laviyah with her four-day old son and her son Menahem.  Her husband was away serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

We visited Beit Miriam, the Shavei Israel Community Center, where we saw Bnei Menashe children coming for help with their homework.

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Others worked with computers and on crafts projects while two girls outside were climbing a tree.

At the entrance to Beit Miriam, the prophetic vision that we were seeing with our own eyes was posted on the wall:

“And I will return the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel, and I shall assemble them as in the beginning.”  (Jeremiah 33)