Above: Bnei Menashe community members Nakhon Hoakip and his mother, Leah, who live in Imphal, examine damaged buildings Jan. 4.
A 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern India early Monday, Jan. 4, caused extensive property damage to the country’s Bnei Menashe community.
At least nine people died and 90 others were hurt in the quake, which hit about 18 miles from Imphal in the state of Manipur, near Myanmar and Bangladesh, about 4:30 a.m. local time Monday.
“Buildings shook violently,” said Tzvi Khaute, a member of the Bnei Menashe community. “Thank G-d no one among the Bnei Menashe was injured or killed.”
A 2005 ruling by the Chief Rabbinate in Israel found that the Bnei Menashe are descendants of the lost tribe of Manasseh and thus eligible to make aliyah, as 3,000 have done in recent years.
About 700 of the 7,000 Bnei Menashe remaining in India are awaiting permission to make aliyah this year, according to Shavei Israel, an organization that supports groups such as the Bnei Menashe who have been cut off from the Jewish people over the centuries. Shavei Israel has started a relief fund at shavei.org/manipur-earthquake-relief.