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The reason I am bringing this to your attention is that he mentions
Yair Davidiy and The Tribes and another of your books.
Good to see someone giving us accreditation.
Ephramite activists often use our sources and research but sometimes fail to mention us.
I've read from a lot of people that Benjamin settled the region of Galilee by the time of Christ. So far, the only justification (besides theological reasoning I doubt you'd agree with since it has to do with things Jesus said) I've heard of is from Nehemiah 11 where Judah settles Jerusalem and villages south of it while Benjamin settled in the villages north of it. Do you know of anything specific concerning the house of Judah settling the Galilee region?
We usually avoid questions of this nature but for once will make an
The Galilee belonged to Tribes from Northern Israel who were exiled by the Assyrians.
Isaiah speaks of "Galilee of the Nations" in connection to the exile of Israelite Tribes:
[Isaiah 9:1] BUT THERE WILL BE NO GLOOM FOR HER THAT WAS IN ANGUISH. IN THE FORMER TIME HE BROUGHT INTO CONTEMPT THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BUT IN THE LATTER TIME HE WILL MAKE GLORIOUS THE WAY OF THE SEA, THE LAND BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE NATIONS.
##GALILEE OF THE NATIONS has been understand to refer to the Galilee in Israel whereat dwelt many Gentiles.
A Jewish Commentator (whose name we have temporarily misplaced) however says that here it refers to the area of Gozan by the Habor River in the North where a portion of the Ten Tribes were exiled to. We agree with this explanation.
In the time of Josiah ben Amon small groups of Scythians and Jews may have tried to re-settle the Galilee in Israel but were unsuccessful and left.
For more than a hundred years after the exile of the Northern tribes it was practically unpopulated.
In fact for several centuries there were not so many people there despite the relative fertility and benign climate of the region.
Later it began to be re-populated by non-Jews but slowly.
By the time of Ezra and Nehemiah and the Jews returning the area was controlled by Gentiles but Jewish settlement did begin.
The Hasmoneans conquered the area and intensified Jewish settlement in the region.
Nevertheless there were always many Gentiles in the area.
I do not know of any source suggesting that the Jewish inhabitants were mainly from the Tribe of Benjamin but that does not mean that such a source does not exist. If it does, please produce it.
Obadiah says that Benjamin shall possess Gilead but it is doubtful what he means. He is speaking of the End Times and anyway Gilead is not Galilee.
[Obadiah 1:19] AND THEY OF THE SOUTH SHALL POSSESS THE MOUNT OF ESAU; AND THEY OF THE PLAIN THE PHILISTINES: AND THEY SHALL POSSESS THE FIELDS OF EPHRAIM, AND THE FIELDS OF SAMARIA: AND BENJAMIN SHALL POSSESS GILEAD.
The Talmud says that inhabitants of the Galilee had their own dialect and could not pronounce Hebrew correctly.
Some have suggested that the Galilean pronunciation gave rise to that of European Jews and that the Ashkenazic Jews (i.e. those of Europe) were predominantly from Benjamin.
In the NT it says that 11 of the disciples were from Galilee while Judas was from Judah.
Judas was the one who betrayed the Christian Messiah. Certain Central European anti-Semites suggested that the 11 disciples were descended from Gentiles who had settled in the Galilee and converted to Judaism.
They were "Aryan" and loyal whereas the only one who was not loyal happened to be the one who was truly Jewish.
The idea that they were all from Benjamin may be a variation of this myth.
Paul said he was from Benjamin and there were some Gentile sources claiming he was a convert.
Traditionally Jews have been reluctant about accepting converts for several reasons.
These reasons include:
a. Incidents of unreliability in times of stress.
b. Acceptance of converts is perceived by the Gentiles as a threat and engenders hostility and persecution in which very often the new converts are the first to leave.
c. Converts sometimes having religious notions, ideological commitments, and moral understandings of their own that they try to combine with Jewish practice.
We mention these points due to the recent talk of "Ephraimites" Converting.
I appreciate your feedback and understand why BritAm does not involve itself directly within the conversion/religious sphere of discussions. This makes 100% sense considering your organization's goals.
I'm very glad that we both foresee a similar method regarding a "conversion" process for Ephraimites. Your illustration of other groups of non-jews who "converted" and joined the Jews in Eretz Israel is a very practical one and definitely provides the highest chance of long term success. Such a pilot group of Ephraimites would result in a massive awareness of the 10 Tribe movement and lend much more credibility to the movement and its proponents. Jewish and break away Christian (Bnei Ephraim) communities throughout the world would at long last have some form of recognition. This will set the basis from which many other institutional structures can be built upon.
I can easily see 1000 or so Ephraimites join into such a pilot group with some of their core motives being,
Recognized as the spiritual/physical decedents of the lost ten tribes and to openly repent from rebelling agains haShem and his anointed.
to learn Hebrew & Torah in a systematic way 3. to learn the customs and traditions of the house of Israel as nurtured by the Jews in exile.
to attend pilgrimage festivals of Israel
to re-introduce the structured synagogue service with the rabbi-talmid structure of learning
to eventually settle Samaria and other regions as indicated in prophesy in close-nit communities with self supporting and complementing industries.
to prepare for the final reconciliation of the Two Houses at the appearance of Messiah ben David
and very importantly, and I believe the main reason for the majority of Ephraimites converting now and "loosing" their identity, the motive of a structured and torah true community wich will allow for our children to grow up as Jews/Ephraimites/Israelites. With backing from several scholars such as yourself, and hopefully also 1 or 2 prominent Rabbis this group could make serious strides in promoting the prophetic goals of reconciliation. These Rabbis could work in close co-operation with the newly established Sandherin and other major yeshivot in Eretz Israel. They would be able to successfully compile a "soft" conversion syllabus in consultation with Ephraimites that could be implemented during the span of several years. Local co-operation from Beit Dins in countries like the USA, South Africa, New Zealand etc. etc. could be brought onboard to facilitate Hebrew/Aramaic training which will allow them to learn and understand the literature and songs of the synagogue. The same Jewish communities could then also present this "soft conversion" syllabus to Ephraimite groups and help them to establish torah-aligned communities and synagogues.
The Christian Bible in Acts chapter 15 instructs gentile converts to go to synagogues on Shabbat and there they'll "hear" Moshe being proclaimed. This concept would be essential in convincing Ephraimites, from their own writings, to actually drop their replacement theology based community structures and teaching and once again involve themselves in authentic Torah learning under Judah's watchful eyes.
I suppose there are several ways that this reconciliation can/will happen, but I thank you for any comments as they can only help in refining the concepts.
Brit-Am Reply and Advice:
You do not need a 1000 applicants to start with. Even 10 or 20 should be enough.
Take who ever comes and appears committed enough to see the process through.
Do away with any "Ephraimite" notions of compromise on religious matters. It will be not accepted and only cause trouble for others who are genuine.
Instead of thinking of a "soft conversion" syllabus consider the possibility of an intensified learning course that reduces time limitations while actually heightening the standards to be achieved.
Normally less than 15% of converts remain religious. You should aim for a 100% that remain Jewishly observant.
If you are forced to settle for less do not let the percentage of non-religious be a large one.
You want people who are prepared to obey the Halachic Law and desire to do so.
No need to look for Rabbis. Genuine prospects for conversion are much much more important especially at the beginning. If these are available the Rabbis will be found.
Forget the so-called "Sanhedrin".
It does not exist and it now seems to have been a pity that an attempt was ever made to create it.
Avoid any such "creations" in the future.
Forget beti-din (Jewish Religious Coursts) outside of the Land of Israel.
Aim for standards that the Ultra-Orthodox would accept.
If the Ultra-Orthodox say OK everyone else will follow.
Keep away from nut-cases and eccentrics who are liable to embarrass these efforts and confound them.
The aim should be to find Ephraimites who want to convert anyway; Who will come together in a group;
and request that on their Conversion Centificate mention be made that they may be descended from the Lost Ten Tribes. This is enough. It could be an important beginning.
The Conversion Centificate in itself is nothing more than a bureaucratic legal document.
It has no halachic standing.
This actually helps us since even if there be authorities who disagree with us there should be no serious opposition to such a provision being made.
After the Conversion it would be good if the "group" were able to stay together.
Jewish settlement in Israeli kibbutzim and settlements has often been planned along similar lines.
A group of people form in their home country, get to know each other, come to Israel and settle in the same place providing mutual support in the initial stages.
In this case the "getting to know each other" phase could be during the Conversion Course and immediately after it.
Avoid extraneous considerations.
Emphasize quality of commitment and speed of proecessing.
Be prepared for opposition as well as support from unexpected quarters.
Ephraimites should realize that these efforts are furthering their cause.
Jews should be given NO reason to think an attempt is being made to missionize them or to do anything against Judaism.
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