A member of the lost tribe of Manasseh returns home

The Fellowship  |  January 12, 2009

A family of four in front of a Hannukah poster.

Ovadiah is a member of the Bnei Menashe, descendants of one of Israel’s “lost tribes” living in rural India. From the time he was a little boy, his parents taught him about his Jewish heritage, studying the Bible with him so that he would grow in his faith. At that time, living in Israel was only a dream but, little did he know, it was a dream that would one day come true.

Ovadiah was in his forties when he found out that the Bnei Menashe would be given the opportunity to return to Israel through The Fellowship‘s On Wings of Eagles program. He could hardly believe it he was finally going home.

The flight from India to Israel is long. But on the plane with 51 other members of the Bnei Menashe, Ovadiah lost track of time. “I didn’t even realize how long we had been traveling,” he says. “We were singing and celebrating for the entire trip!” When they arrived in Israel, Ovadiah and his fellow Bnei Menashe went to a Wings-sponsored absorption center. Here, they are learning Hebrew and meeting other Jewish olim (immigrants). There is a synagogue nearby, and Ovadiah enjoys walking to worship services on the Sabbath.

Ovadiah has nothing but kind words for the assistance he has received from staff at the center. “They work hard to help us, and we are grateful,” he says. Through On Wings of Eagles, thousands of these Jewish exiles will be given the opportunity for new life in Israel and the biblical promise to gather the exiles of Israel “from the four corners of the earth” will be fulfilled!

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