Friday, November 4, 2016

More Miracles in Israel: Lost 10 Tribes Return: 2 India

Nadene Goldfoot                                      
Miss World of 1959 was Fleur Ezekiel, a Jewish model of India.

1. Bene Israel individuals genetically resemble local Indian populations.  Genetic analysis shows that the Bene Israel of India cluster with the indigenous populations of western India and Ethiopia, but do have a clear paternal link to the populations of the Levant.   A recent more detailed study on Indian Jews has reported that the paternal ancestry of Indian Jews is composed of Middle East specific haplogroups (E, G, {J(xJ2 Cohen gene}  and I) as well as common South Asian haplogroups (R1a, H, L-M11, R2).
They constitute a clearly separated and unique population in India.  The results of the genetic analysis also suggest that the first settlers arrived between 650 and 1,050 years ago, and proceeded to mix with local populations. "According to the study of 2008 b D. Behar et al., the maternal lineage of some Jews of India has a local origin for the vast majority of the community. The maternal gene pool also includes some minor maternal lineage originating in the area of Iraq/Iran or Italy.  Genetic research shows that 41.3% of Bene Israel descend from one female ancestor, who was of indigenous Indian origin. "
    Evidently the Assyrians and then the Babylonians took Israeli slaves to India, as the Bene Israel from there have also returned to Israel.  Bene means "sons of."  This is a return after being taken more than 2,000 years ago according to their legend.  The group who have returned spoke Marathi.  They carry the unusual "Moses gene" (may be referring to the Cohen gene).  Moses was the brother of Aaron and had made Aaron and his descendants  the high priests,  This seems to be slightly different from what has been called the Cohen gene of J1; Y haplogroup. "Since it was found in both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews, the genome predates the split in the communities which occurred around 1000 CE. Based on the mutations found in the genes, scientists place the original kohen – the first common ancestor – at approximately 3,300 years ago, a timeline that fits neatly within the Biblical parameters of the lifetimes of the first priestly family.

"Theories about the origins of the Bnei Israel vary greatly. One theory holds they left northern Israel 2,000 years ago, another that they came from Southern Arabia or Persia, 500 years earlier, and yet another that they arrived from Yemen in the 8th century BCE. There is no independent support or substantiating evidence for any of these claims."

"After Israel became a state in 1948, 2,300 of India’s 20,000 Jews arrived in Israel. Soon after, most of the remaining community immigrated to Israel. There are approximately 50,000 Beni Israel in Israel today, though 5,000 still remain in India, mainly in Mumbai.

Bene (sons of) Israel, the oldest and largest group of Jews in India Traditionally, the Bene Israel worked in sesame-oil pressing; they also farmed their land, peddled produce, and worked as skilled carpenters.
They number 4,000 Bene Israelis, now mainly based in Mumbai (Bombay), and also in Pune, Thane and Ahmedabad, India.Four years of DNA testing was done on them.  The results showed they are "probable descendants of a small group of hereditary Israelite priests or Kohanim.  Professor Tudor Parfitt was involved in the testing and had initiated the research.  He stated that exiles from Israel wound up in India and maintained Judaism among Hindus and then after 632 CE, Islam. I don't know about Hinudism, but Islam surely would have tried to convert them and would have put on a lot of pressure.
2. Baghdadi -Iraqi Jews of India These were Jews from Baghdad who came to India on business as early as the 17th century and stayed. 

David Sassoon
(1792-1864), seated, with sons: Elias David Sassoon, Sir Albert Abdallah David Sassoon (1818-1896) who settled in England, and Sassoon David Sassoon.
   He founded this Anglo-Indian family from a distinguished Baghdad Jewish family and settled 
in Bombay.   David also built up an enormous business and was famous for his philanthropies. Other
sons were Arthur Sassoon (1840-1912) and Reuben Sassoon (1835-1905) who also settled 
in England.  
"Group prayer and Jewish rituals took place in the home. The community’s religious observance was based on biblical Judaism: they celebrated Jewish holidays related to the Bible; the Sabbath was strictly observed; all male children were circumcised eight days after birth; and the first Hebrew verse of the Shema was recited on all occasions for prayer.
Initially, the Bene Israel had no Torah scrolls, prayer books, or synagogues, nor were they familiar with rabbinic Judaism or the details of halakhah. They were guided by three Bene Israel religious leaders called kazis, who traveled from village to village in order to officiate at all rites of passage."." from my Jewish learning"  In ancient days, the Kazi role  would have been the role of the Levites-to teach and travel to the people.  

"Intermarriage between Baghdadis and Bene Israel are still very rare, and when it did occur, it was generally a Baghdadi woman marrying a Bene Israel man.  An outstanding exception occurred when Maurice Japheth, the well-known journalist from the Baghdadi community, married an educated woman from a prominent Bene Israel family.  Japheth, although of Iraqi origin, actually came from Aden, and Jews of Aden had always been friendlier with the Bene Israel than the Baghdadis in India were.  Perhaps also, because of his position, Japheth could defy convention and marry a Bene Israel, although many Baghdadis were disturbed.  After Japheth’s marriage, more Baghdadi men married Bene Israel women, but when Baghdadi-Bene Israel marriages occurred in Bombay, the Baghdadis checked in Bene Israel synagogues to be certain that the parents of the Bene Israel partner were Jews.  If a Kala Bene Israel wanted to marry a Baghdadi, Tiffereth Israel, a Bene Israel synagogue, they performed a conversion for a fee.  The Baghdadi synagogues performed conversions up until the mid-1900s, but the Beth Din of London asked them to stop, as they did not have the competent authorities–a religious court with three rabbis.
3. Cochin (Kochi)  Jews of India-also called the Malabar: Most of the Jews of Cochin already emigrated to Israel.  About 100 were left in India in 1968 when they celebrated the 400th anniversary of its synagogue at a special service that the Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi,   had attended.  By 1991 there were only 25 "White Jews" and 50 "Black Jews" left in Cochin.  They once had numbered 8,000.  Today, less than 10 people remain, living close to the Paradesi synagogue.

They are the oldest Jewish community settlement in India, and they probably came from the time of King Solomon (961-920 BCE).Cochin Jews also have genetic similarities with other Jewish populations, in particular with Yemenite Jews, along with the indigenous populations of India.  
Their late history goes back to  the 12th and 13th centuries.  In 1523 when the Portuguese captured Cranganore, where they had lived.  these refugees had fled to Cochin, a port and former state on the Malabar coast in southern India.  This area became the center of this branch of Indian Jewry.  The natives became the "Black Jews" and were reinforced by new immigrants from Syria, Turkey, etc who became the "White Jews. Both were influenced by the reigning caste system of India.  They kept themselves separate from the others.  Along came a 3rd group of Freedmen from converted native slaves.  They suffered from the Portuguese, probably from efforts of conversion that always led to killings.  However, they did flourish later under the Dutch and then British rule.  Some even entered the military.  Though isolated, they managed to keep up a Jewish intellectual life.  These Jews preserved their own liturgy for marriage, etc.
 The Bnei Menashe are made up of MizoKukiand Chin peoples, who all speak Tibeto-Burman languages, and whose ancestors migrated into northeast India from Burma mostly in the 17th and 18th centuries. 
Another group in India are the Bnei Menashe or the Shinlung Tribe. Their tribe had been indigenous  headhunters, animists.  They came from the NE Indian states of Manipur and Mizoram which are close to the Burmese border and claimed to be descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes of ancient Israel.  Their claim to be one of the Lost 10 Tribes are  "legends that refer to a beloved homeland that they had to leave, called Sinlung/Chinlung.  Unfortunately, they have resisted genetic testing to prove their Jewishness, which is not expected or demanded of Israel's government to be a returnee.  They have resisted testing for fear it will not show a DNA connection in their efforts to assimilate and to bring their families to Israel.

Their Rabbi Shimon Gangte, a leader of the Bnei Menashe, had lived in Israel for 8 years in 2004 when he said that over the years, Jewish blood had mixed with non-Jewish blood in their community, so he knows they had intermarried with the general population.  He feared that DNA testing would not show that they were Jewish.  He added that they feel Jewish and will still remain Jewish.   Hillel Halkin is the man pressing to have DNA testing.  He wrote the book, "Across the Sabbath River:  In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel."  He has wanted to lead a group of Israeli and American doctors to India to do DNA testing and ssee if the Bnei Israelis have Jewish genes.  They hoped to find at least one or two people with traces of Eastern Mediterranean origins.

"In 2003–2004 DNA testing showed that several hundred men of this group had no evidence of Middle Eastern ancestry. A Kolkata study in 2005, which has been criticized, suggested that a small number of women sampled may have some Middle Eastern ancestry, but this may also have resulted from intermarriage during the thousands of years of migration.  In the early 21st century, Israel halted immigration by Bnei Menashe; it resumed after a change in government. The chief rabbi of Israel ruled in 2005 that the Bnei Menashe was recognized as part of a lost tribe, allowing aliyah after formal conversion."

They do not have an evidence of lore of being Jewish, only had retained a legend about an ancestor, Kuki-Mizo's Manmasi, nor did they have customs.  "As of the 21st century, the Bnei Menashe have come to believe that the legendary Kuki-Mizo ancestor Manmasi  was the Hebrew Menasseh, son of Joseph."  Joseph was one of the 12 sons of Jacob.  

They are to be settled in the Golan Heights, the area the tribe of Menashe was given by either Moses or Joshua.  Out of their tribe of 10,000, 3,000 now live in Israel with the remaining 7,000 still in India. Israel's first plan was to settle them in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but then they gave up Gaza and changed policy.

Approximately 35% to 43% of Jewish men are in the paternal line known as haplogroup J and its sub-haplogroups. This Haplogroup is particularly present in the Middle East, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa.  Fifteen to 30% are in haplogroup E1b1b (or E-M35) and its sub-haplogroups.

After Israel became a state in 1948, 2,300 of India’s 20,000 Jews arrived in Israel. Soon after, most of the remaining community immigrated to Israel. There are approximately 50,000 Beni Israel in Israel today, though 5,000 still remain in India, mainly in Mumbai.

 The studies show that the Bene Israel and Black Cochin Jews of IndiaBeta Israel of Ethiopia, and a portion of the Lemba people of southern Africa, while more closely resembling the local populations of their native countries, have some ancient Jewish descent.

q=Bene+Israel+of+Mumbai,+India,+pictures&biw=960&bih=635&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj8nJu0sI_QAhVMz1QKHd5JB2sQ7AkINQ#imgrc=z6YPeWsL_pNURM%3A Cochin Jews
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