The Burma Blues

  Who is Israel?  
 The Burmese or  
  "Danny Boy"?  

Brit-Am and Burma?
      Recently the News have been full of stories concerning the declared intention of Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar to convert members of a Burmese Tribe who claim they descend from the Tribe of Manasseh. Several people have sent me notices urgently requesting our reaction to this information. Until now we have tried to ignore the subject but it seems that some type of answer is required. Below is a typical example of the type of letters that have been reaching us on the subject:

Shalom Yair, I'm curious what you think of articles like this that claim Menasheh is coming or will come from the far east? And if the Rabbi's are so eager to accept the lost tribes from the far east, why are they so reluctant to accept them from the west (more in line with your research)? Thank you, Katy

Brit-Am Replies:
  1. The plan is to convert (albeit under less stringent conditions than usual) those who wish to become Jewish. They will still need to undergo a course according to Rabbinical requirements. It is questionable if this plan will come to full fruition but, even if it does, it is basically a question of converting people who wish to convert but making it easier for them. The Rabbinical policy on this matter can be debated but if so it must be discussed as part of the policy concerning conversion in general. It has little to do as to whether these peoples are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes or not. It may be that certain groups have good track records and for sociological reasons need an enlightened initiation procedure. Whatever the case, Champions of these people could argue for special consideration without making claims, that appear to be highly doubtful, as to Israelite Origin.

  2. These people are not descended from the Lost Ten Tribes according to Brit-Am understanding. We are not however going to embark on a debate on this subject with anyone, at least we hope not.

  3. These people have received some recognition by part of the Israeli religious establishment and also by the media whereas Brit-Am has not.
    Why is that?
    • Their case has been argued and promoted for a longer period of time.
    • More Jewish organizations and individuals support them largely because MORE know of them but there may also be other reasons.
    • Many many More CHRISTIANS and people we would identify as "Joseph" support their case than support Brit-Am.
      Brit-Am receives relatively little support from anyone. Even people who agree with us seem loathe to support us. There are organizations and individuals who quite freely use our material but discourage their followers from helping us.
      Brit-Am with what it has does a very good work and is quite effective compared to similar enterprises when consideration is taken of the modest support Brit-Am receives.

    • In addition the case is entirely different. It should be noted:
      Not only is it claimed that these people descend from Israel but also they are depicted

This is in fact only true of some of them but it is as they are represented.
If a group or individual wants to become "Jewish" then in some way it becomes a "Jewish" matter for Jews to notice.
If however the group or individual does not wish to become "Jewish" yet requests some kind of "recognition" as part of the family then they must exert themselves to present their case.
Brit-Am is prepared and able to present the case BOTH to Joseph and Judah but Brit-Am needs a minimal degree of enabling support to do so.
For better or for worse Brit-Am is the only organization capable of this task.
Brit-Am is willing and able to do the work but YOU must help enable Brit-Am to do so.

   Some Sources for    
   the Burma Blues:    

Source 1.
Telegraph Report

Squeezed between Burma and Bangladesh, 'descendants' of the Lost Tribes of Israel convert to Judaism
By David Orr in Aizawl, Mizoram, NE India
(Filed: 17/04/2005)

      Passover is around the corner and Arbi Khiangte is helping her aunt, Dovi, clean and redecorate her home for one of the most important feasts in the Jewish calendar. The house is next door to the Shalom Zion synagogue where Arbi's uncle, Eliezer, is the cantor.

Though Arbi, 20, has never travelled out of Mizoram - a remote outpost of Indian soil squeezed between Burma and Bangladesh - her heart lies thousands of miles away. She greets visitors with "Shalom", and a silver star of David hangs from a chain around her neck. Her orange T-shirt declares that "Gush Katif is my Home" - a reference to an Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip where her cousins and 800 other tribal Indians have moved, converting to Judaism. She and her family hope that soon after Passover they will follow.
"We feel more Israeli than Indian,"
says Arbi who, when not working in a hospital canteen, spends long hours poring over her Hebrew lessons.
"People ask me, 'How can you be Jewish?' or 'How can you want to leave Mizoram?' Sometimes they're quite hostile, but I just smile."

The incredulity stems from the fact that nearly 90 per cent of Mizos are Christians.

Their ancestors were converted by missionaries from Wales and northern England after the region's annexation by colonial administrators in 1891.
Mizoram is today a protected tribal area which foreigners may visit only with a government permit. Most people are Presbyterian - and "happy-clappy" hymns sung in English and Mizo are the staple listening of the youth.
Arbi, and 6,000 fellow believers in India's north-east, have been bolstered by a recent declaration that their claim to be descended from one of the legendary Ten Lost Tribes of Israel - said to have been driven from the Middle East by invaders in the eighth century BC - is to be officially acknowledged. Last month, after a visit to the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, announced that a team of rabbinical judges would convert them to Orthodox Judaism. This would allow them to settle in Israel under the Law of Return, which grants the right of Israeli citizenship to Jews.
"I was so glad," says Arbi, who wants to become a nurse in Israel.
"It was like my dream became real."

Despite their ethnic Mongoloid appearance and Tibeto-Burman tongue, Arbi's family believe that their ancestors belonged to the tribe of Menasseh or Menashe, which travelled through Iran and Afghanistan to China.
According to tribal belief, all Mizos spring from a cave in China called Chhinlung. Their odyssey is said to have continued through Thailand and Burma before it came to these hills. Arbi and her co-believers call themselves Bnei Menashe - Children of Menashe.
Zai Zaithangchungi, a former teacher who has written a book about Israeli-Mizo links, said:
"All Mizo people are children of Menashe but only a few have become Jews. It's no coincidence that before Christianity came here, the Mizos believed in a common ancestor called Manase or Manasia."
Belief in Judaism took root in neighbouring Manipur where there are now 5,000 Bnei Menashe. Arbi's uncle Eliezer and his wife Dovi changed faith in the mid 1970s and Arbi was brought up as Bnei Menashe.

In Mizo, meanwhile, Christians are alarmed.
"Lying, evil spirits have led our people astray," said Dr Pachuau Biaksiama, a Presbyterian evangelist.
"Physically, culturally and linguistically, we're very different from the Jewish people. It's nonsense about us having the same rituals. If you compare any two religions you'll always find some similarities."
Genetic studies at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Calcutta and a technical institute in Israel have so far established no ethnic link.

Source 2. Halkin Book Review

      Hillel Halkin's ''Across the Sabbath River: In Search of a Lost Tribe of Israel'' (Houghton Mifflin, $28)...relates an improbable story: a people on a remote border of India, Tibet and Burma want to migrate to modern Israel because they believe themselves to be descended from one of the 10 tribes exiled from ancient Israel 2,700 years ago...'Across the Sabbath River,'' in which Halkin travels to the region to investigate this story, is also a lament for a culture cut off from its past by Christian missionaries...
For as Halkin makes clear in a haunting survey of the literature, nothing could be more ridiculous than joining the ranks of those Jews and later Christians who over the past millennium have either longed to prove the existence of one or more of Israel's 10 lost tribes or claimed to have done so.
Halkin realizes that there's more going on than the desire to move to a developed country, however. He cites one anthropologist's explanation for the sudden appearance of Jews in an area that had long since been Christianized: rejecting the New Testament for the Old is a way to rebel against the missionaries without reverting altogether to the pre-Christian religion... What Halkin needs are sources -- people who remember what it was like before the Christians came, or someone who talked to those people before they died out. He sheds the rabbi and eventually finds his man, a native folklorist, but not before falling prey to a con man...
In the last chapter Halkin lays out the dramatic results of his research..
By then we have grown fond of these would-be Jews and begun to empathize with their desire to be something, anything, for certain.
(''Show me I was a Christian and I'll be a Christian,'' says one.
''Show me I was a Jew and I'll be a Jew. . . . But show me who I am.'')
Halkin answers this need with wild though brilliantly argued conjectures...
Halkin has an acute sense of the pathos of religious longing and has found its correlative in this astonishing story, which doesn't have to be true to be heartbreaking.

Source No.3 Arutz 7

Rabbinate Recognizes Bnei Menashe as "Descendants of Israel"
In a historic decision, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has decided to formally recognize the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India as "descendants of Israel."
The Chief Rabbinate has also agreed to send a beit din (rabbinical court) on its behalf to the region to formally convert them to Judaism.
The Bnei Menashe claim descent from the tribe of Menashe, one of the ten tribes exiled from the Land of Israel by the Assyrian empire over 2,700 years ago.
They reside primarily in the two Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur, along the border with Burma and Bangladesh.
In recent years, over 800 members of the community have made Aliyah [immigration to Israel], thanks largely to the efforts of Shavei Israel...
The B'nei Menashe, known in India as the Manmassi tribe, was made known to the Jewish world almost 30 years ago by Rabbi Eliyahu Avihayil..
Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund, who also took part in yesterday's meeting, praised the Chief Rabbi's decision...
"This is the breakthrough that we have all been waiting for, and thank G-d, the remaining 6,000 members of the community still in India will at last be able to come home to Zion."
In June 2003, then-Interior Minister Avraham Poraz of the Shinui Party decided to halt the Bnei Menashe aliyah, reportedly because he objected to the fact that they were all religiously-observant and many chose to live in Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Rabbi Birnbaum added that once various conditions laid down by the Chief Rabbi are fulfilled, such as the construction of mikvaot (ritual baths) in India, and the dispatch of additional teachers, the Chief Rabbinate would send a beit din of its own to the area to convert members of the community to Judaism, thereby allowing them to make Aliyah to Israel.

Brit-Am and Burma? 
 Readers Reactions  

1. One-Sided Reports
2. Funding from Ephraim
3. Charlie Bassett : "Just Crazy"
4. William Rasmussen: A Different Perspective
5. Jeremy Birningham: Suggestion for Rabbi Avichail

1. One-Sided Reports


I can tell you that there was a huge article covering this in this month's NJ News and Opinion; interestingly they mention that DNA studies confirm that the women hail from the Mideast but that the men show no evidence of that , rather that their patterns seem more consistent with local populations ; they also mention familiar customs handed down and other such items of interest that I am sure you know about already; what bothers me is that these articles report about it as well as Rabbinic acceptance of it in Israel without mentioning other points of view or any authorities that are more skeptical but are simply accepting them as Jews since they wish to convert like anyone else can freely do so regards

DM, New Jersey

2. Funding from Ephraim From:

Dear Yair,
You do provide provoking information of the 10 tribes but this is just history. You do not seem to take up either the Jewish or Messianic cause. Your mission is just to inform. As wonderful as this is, it will not provide much support to you although you bagger the readers at every opportunity for funding.

One might ask, where is Joseph/Ephraim to return to? ...

The Israeli government needs to be apprised of the intent of Ephraim's return and needs to give permission to them. If you were to take one more step and assist Ephraim's return, I believe funding would not be an issue.
Mar David of Hava

3. Charlie Bassett: "Just Crazy"
This thing about Burma, is just crazy, Some time you have to wonder if people ever read the Bible, especially Genesis 48-49. There is some one all the time coming up something about the lost 10 tribes, To fullfill what Jacob told the sons of Joseph only two nations match that and that is England and America. I don't blame you for not getting involved, its a loser all the way as it is empty speculation. Charlie Bassett

4. William Rasmussen: A Different Perspective
Shalom and blessings to you from Bill Rasmussen!
Shalom Yair: I would direct members of Brit Am to read the piece today [4/6/05] in the Jersualem Post regarding the Bnei Menashe. The article was written by Mati Wagner and deals with the bringing of the Bnei Menashe from the borders of India and Burma to Israel. All of this was done under the auspices of Amishav and Rabbi Eleyahu Avichail as well as logistical support by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and his Internation Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
This article is very germane to Brit Am for several reasons: first, it shows a willingness on the part of some in Israel to help fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah 11 and Ezekiel 37.
The fact that there are those in Israel who are aware of the notion that the 10 lost tribes will be brought back in the Acharit Yamim [End of Days] shows we are indeed living in prophetic times.

Secondly, the article points out that there is great opposition on the part of the left in Israel to bring Torah observant or right leaning people to Israel as doing so will weaken their power base.
Former Interior minister Avraham Poraz was insidious in this respect.
Ophir-Paz-Pines is expected to continue the policies of Poraz as well.
Specifically, the article points out that opposition was made to the Bnei Menashe because they were right leaning and also supported the settlements. Undoubtedly, most of the Brit Am supporters and members fall into this category, so it would be incumbent on us to deal with the opposition of the left in Israel in order to open doors in the future for the 10 lost tribes to enter into Eretz Yisrael [Land of Israel].
Yair, you are not only a scholar, but a diplomat and ambassador who sees all the potential problems in bringing to Israel, those of backgrounds divergent from mainstream Judaism.
Rabbi Avichail may be well meaning, but his paltry efforts of bringing several thousand individuals to Israel will do little to fulfil Ezekiel 37.
The vision and mission of Brit Am however, will in fact lead to the fulfilling of Ezekiel 37 in that it has identified and is targeting the major population sources of Israelites who will ultimately return and play a significant role in the fulfillment of biblical prophecies regarding the Acharit Yamim [End of Days].
It will take millions of Israelites to profoundly change the course of events in Israel and to help "fly" the Arabs in Yesha to the west.
If the 7,000 some Bnei Menashe are all that is out there, we are in a heap of trouble.
Obviously, the major pockets of those from Ephraim and Menasseh are to be found in places other than the border of Burma and India.
While I don't want to diminish or speak negatively of the Bnei Menashe, it is vital that the same people who helped to bring the Bnei Menashe to Israel see that the real fulfillment of Bible prophecy will be made with the research and scholarship of Brit Am.
Yair, your hour is coming. Everything up to now has been just preparation.
I believe in my heart that HaShem will highly favor you and use you in a prophetic way far beyond anything that you could ever imagine. I look forward to the day when you stand on the tarmac in Jerusalem to welcome millions of Israelites back home!
Rabbi Avichail has his thousands and Yair Davidiy has his ten-thousands, all to the glory of HaShem!

Shalom v'b'richot, Bill Rasmussen

5. Jeremy Birningham: Suggestions for Rabbi Avichail
I guess Rabbi Eliyahua can look in your soul and tell if your an Israelite or not.
Why do people fall for these misunderstandings of Rabbi Eliyahua Avichayail? His claims do not stand up to the Bible nor too history.
I can't believe intelligent people give credit to his claims.
His claims are shallow and based on misinterpretation of History and the Bible. I have put three years of my life in studying the history of the Tribes. Rabbi Eliyahua Avichayail is wrong.

Rabbi Eliyahua makes a mistake by calling these people Israelites because he states
"He said that being a Jew is not a matter of race, color, culture, creed or physical genetics .."
Since these people are Jews by the Rabbi's standards they are not from the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel but from Judah who was never to forget his identity or culture according to the Bible.
However where Rabbi Eliyahu goes to meet these people especially in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kurdistan and Ethiopia these people are only remembering the customs of the Israelites that lived in these locations long ago.
These people aren't Jews nor are they Israelites.
However for him to claim that these people are from the lost tribes (plural) yet he calls them Jews we can see already that he does not understand that Ephraim are Ephraimites who are presently divorced from God and do not remember their Identity.
These people seem to remember their Identity so they must be from Judah meaning one tribe not tribes.
Can you see the Rabbi's misunderstanding and know he doesn't fully grasp the concept that Israel and Judah are separate.
This is also a perfect example that he does not understand the scripture nor the blessing. This goes to show he is looking in the wrong direction because he starts his search in error.

In addition there is defiantly a physical order with which descendants of Israel are related by Blood. From Abraham's physical being was born his son Isaac. From Isaac was born Jacob. And from Jacob came the twelve tribes of Israel. How do we know this? Because the Bible tells us they are related by blood. Hashem wants Abraham's real blood children they are his people and they will be Israel by blood and soul. The people Rabbi Avichavil goes to, do not meet any of the blessings from God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Genesis at all.
They are not Kings of Nations nor are they blessed with the bounty of the earth.
They hold no economic or political clout.
They have not brought any medical breakthroughs nor have they fought and died by the thousands for freedom in the world.
Israel was to be a people that would be a "light unto nations"
The Jews light was to keep the Law and monotheism in the world.
The Northern ten Tribes especially Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh where to police and bring peace as best they could to the world and be of economic and political strength and stability.
This is Ephraim's contribution to the light.
Joseph was the Viceroy of Egypt in control of the most powerful nation on earth at the time!
Israel especially Joseph's children will be Viceroy's in our world today not poor and destitute.
The people from Afghanistan, Burma, Pakistan, Kurdistan and Ethiopia have not made any great impact in this world ...
Nor on any level do they match one ounce of the Blessing in Genesis...
The only way to tell who is Israelite is by the blessings in the Bible bestowed on the tribes and the people from Rabbi's Eliyahu's nations simply do not match the Blessing...
Rabbi Eliyahu Avichayil forgets that the Bible and its prophesies for the end times are of earth transforming events.
Like the great Exodus from Egypt when the Israelites came to the Land of Israel with Moses the whole known world at that time knew Hashem's name because of this huge event.

...The true Israelites born of blood and soul are over here in North America and in Northern Europe in the Dark while the Jews bring their beautiful knowledge of Hashem, His word, His Oneness and truth to impostors.
If only Yair, got half the support Rabbi Eliyahu gets this world would be a different place and Israel would be whole and Hashem would dwell in His Temple.

I'm insulted that I watch others move to the Land of the Living and steal my birth right and my identity.
Ask Rabbi Eliyahu Avichayil to read all of Yair's books.
Also ask the Rabbi to read Genesis and try and grasp an understanding of the blessings.
Afghanistan which has suffered 20 years of war with Russia then getting bombed by the United States to destroy the Taliban.
Ask him if they are a blessed people because of this...
Also If you could bring to the Rabbi's attention some new facts because maybe he hasn't noticed this yet.
America, Britain, Australia and even some troops from Canada are in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Somewhere in the Bible I don't remember where exactly the verse says the modern Land of Israel will border onto the Euphrates. Guess who is in the holy land once again?
Joseph is flexing his muscle and is the dominant force in the Middle East controlling the "Gates of His Enemies".
I guess Rabbi Eliyahu will call the nations from the UK Gog and Magog the destroyers of Israel.
However we are the ones who smashed Germany and stopped the gas chambers from killing more Jews.
Also people from Gaul destroyed Rome the children of Edom's capital and set the world free from Esau in ancient times, Israel's eternal enemy.
...Greater efforts have to focus on the truth and not ignorance and almost a complete lack of the Biblical understanding of the blessings in Genesis. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob where all blood related father to son.
God wants the true blood born Israelites in his Land.

   Letter from Israel Feld: "Burma"    

[Preliminary Brit-Am Explanation: Israel Feld was probably (after Yair Davidiy) the very first true believer in the "Brit-Am" message as presently known. Israel helped us greatly in the early stages and introduced his brother, Rabbi Avraham Feld, to our findings.
Israel Feld provided us with the rabbinical sources that we quoted from in the final chapter of our work "Ephraim". The concept that Israel Feld speaks of below is much more simple than it may initially appear.
The concept is that a widespread acknowledgement of the true identity of Joseph
(especially on the part of Judah) could bring about a process leading to the Final Redemption.
This however would not be in the interests of The Forces of Adversity who might be aroused to do what they can to stop such a development. If however these potentially negative forces were to be somehow "misled" that nothing serious is happening then the True Blue "Joes and Jews" who are in the know can go ahead and slowly consolidate their positions until the time is ripe for a more widely accepted revelation and re-unification.]


   Israel Feld:  Mystical-Psychological   
 Explanation of "Burma and Brit-Am"   

Letter from Israel Feld:
Dear Yair,  I have been thinking about the plan to allow the Bnei Menasha to come to Israel, convert and do so with the recognition from the chief rabbinate that they are indeed from the lost tribes of Israel.   What could this mean as far as the  actual ten tribes are concerned.  G-d truly wants to bring redemption to the world,and the prerequisite for the ultimate redemption is the return of the ten lost tribes.  When the Mida of Din [Spirit of Prosecution] and the evil forces see that the lost tribes are about to be recognized they will try to hinder and stop this  and will do what ever they can to nullify such a thing.  On the other hand, when they see that there is recognition and acceptance of a group as being from the ten lost tribes, when in fact, they have no connection with them what so ever they, the evil forces, the Din [Prosecuting Force] will not try to interfere  for they have nothing to fear, nothing to be afraid of. They don't see this as being part of the redemption.   So they allow the thing to go on.   Once the process begins then there is no way of stopping it.    Once the process begins the evil forces can no longer nullify it. Who began the building of the second Temple if not a Gentile King?  Midat Ha Din [Spirit of Prosecution saw who is building the Temple [Cyrus the King of Persia who initiated the building of the Second Temple] and kept silent and did not protest.  G-d is using the same tactic now.  What I am writing you is all true and clear.   The expected conversion and Aliyah of the so called Bnei Menasha should fill us with joy and hope that the true redemption is getting near and please G-d may we merit to see it soon in our days. love  and best wishes for a Chaqg Semeach [Happy Feastday],  YIsroel

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