COVID delays homecoming for 'lost' Jews in India

What was supposed to be a homecoming - 2,700 years in the making - was sidelined by the coronavirus.

Before heading to the airport for a new life in Israel, some 10 out of 40 members of the Bnei Menashe community - a tribe said to have been exiled from ancient Israel around 730 BC - tested positive for COVID-19.

Now, they’re quarantining inside a Sikh temple in New Delhi.

This man - who will soon renounce his Indian citizenship - is eager to begin his journey to Israel.

“It’s like one-time opportunity, it's a golden opportunity to get such a chance.”

But his chance to immigrate, as thousands of Bnei Menashe have already done, has been delayed due to the virus.

"Otherwise, we have been very excited and we should have left by 31st of the last month.”

India’s now roughly 6,000-member Bnei Menashe community was formally recognized, years ago, by Israel's rabbinical leaders as Jews.

Their name is linked to the Israelite tribe of Menashe, one of the biblical "Twelve Tribes of Israel," 10 of which disappeared after the Assyrian invasion.

The community says some of their practices were similar to ancient Hebrew traditions... practices that are likely to continue in Israel, once their quarantine is over.

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