Other Claims to be Israelites

Brit-Am Replies to Other Claims concerning the Lost Tribes as propounded by Yeshiva Ohr Sameach in the name of Rabbi Avichail. The Ethiopian Jews; Beni Yosef in Afghanistan; Taliban; Pathans; Kashmir; Burma, India, China

Brit-Am Replies to:

Other Claimants to being the Lost Ten Tribes

Answers to Queries


 and Answers 

Brit-Am Replies to:
Other Claimants to being the Lost Ten Tribes

Brit-Am Reply to Ohr Sameach
and to Rabbi Avichail

Reply to:
"The Lost Tribes - Where Are They Today?"
by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - http://ohr.edu/yhiy/article.php/1817

Isralert@aol.com source: Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem http://ohr.edu/web/yomiyun2004.htm

Brit-Am Defends the Truth and replies to the misguided.
Brit-Am exists to tell the truth concerning the Israelite Origins of many people in the West and their kinfolk and also to work for a reconciliation between Judah and Joseph.

Some Jews believe that the Lost Ten Tribes are in the east.
This is not so.
It is a serious untruth and those propagating it commit an act verging on criminal irresponsibility.
But people like fairy tales.
Conspiracy theories are fairy tales.
So too, there exists an Irish tale of a princess, Tea Tephi, from the east brought to Ireland by a wiseman.
Tea Tephi marries an Irish prince and from her seed allegedly descend the monarchs of Scotland and Britain.
Later (recent) interpretations say that Tea Tephi was a daughter of King of Judah and the wiseman who accompanied her was the Prophet Jeremiah.
For all we know this may be so but there is no proof, just imaginative embellishment of what is may be pure fiction in the first place.
Nevertheless, a lot of people believe in this. It has perhaps been more effective in drawing people closer to  "Identity" belief than all our scientific academic and related intensified researches and all the hard powerful evidence that emerged from them.
So too, some Jews want to see the Lost Tribes as being in the East since from a distance it looks romantic.
The poverty-stricken, primitive, Taliban-controlled, woman-persecuting, opium-growing Jew-Hating, murdering, robbing, reality of the area in question is ignored.
The idea that the Lost Ten Tribes are in the east has received a lot of publicity and assistance both from Jews and from others such as elements in Europe.
They have also received enormous sums of money and worked very hard for a long period of time at making their point known.

Brit-Am however has the truth!
Brit-Am could probably do better with only a portion of the assistance that these people received BUT so far Brit-Am has not been assisted to a noticeable degree.

They who think that Judah and the rest of the world should be made aware of the truth such as that maintained by Brit-Am should help us. The responsibility is yours as well as ours.

"Ohr Sameach" (The Light of Happiness) is basically a Rabbinical College that has a vigorous Outreach approach.
They do a lot of good work in their own sphere.
They also have a website that has a question and answer section.
Recently a question was asked concerning the lost Ten Tribes and a Rabbi Ullman replied saying that they were in the east. Rabbi Ullman quoted verbatim from propaganda he had received from interested parties.
Our attention was drawn to this opinion by several people.
At first we tried to ignore it hoping it would disappear as it deserves to do.
Unfortunately people keep asking us about the answer in question so we have decided to write an answer of our own on the subject.

<<Subject: Ohr Sameach: Where are the Lost Tribes Today?

Let's explore who and where these Tribes are today, and whether they and their customs are Jewish.


The Lost Tribes - Where Are They Today?
by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - http://ohr.edu/yhiy/article.php/1817

Isralert@aol.com source: Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem http://ohr.edu/web/yomiyun2004.htm

<<Regarding your question as to where the Lost Tribes were exiled, we saw in the previous installment that according to our sources they were exiled south to Ethiopia, and East through Syria, Iraq, Iran, and as far as India. [This should not be confused with those Jews who settled these lands much later, after the Exile in Roman times]. In addition, while discussing whether the Tribes will be re-united with the Jewish people in the future (which will be brought in detail in the next installment), Tiferet Israel (Sanhedrin 10:3) mentions that there are remnants of the Tribes living in Afghanistan and China as well.>>

The Commentary  "Tiferet Israel "  Rabbi Israel Lifschutz (1800s) did locate the Lost Tribes in Afghanistan based on  legends he had heard and his own somewhat controversial rationalistic approach (for which he was noted) to the sources.
He was wrong. We have explained the situation of Afghanistan and the Lost Ten Tribes in our book "The Tribes" and in our article on Afghanistan.
Some of the tribes had been in Afghanistan and adjoining regions in the past but they moved out.

<<Let's explore who and where these Tribes are today, and whether they and their customs are Jewish:

<<The Jews of Ethiopia are from Northwestern Ethiopia bordering Sudan. They call themselves "Beta Israel" (House of Israel), claim to be from the tribe of Dan, and number about 500,000 (most currently live in Israel).>>

The Jews of Ethiopia themselves never (as far as we know) claimed to be from the Tribe of Dan.
A Commentator (the Radbaz) reportedly said they were from Dan and perhaps a part of them were
but we have no other evidence in this direction. See the quotation by Rabbi Ulman from the Radbaz below.]
 In our book "Ephraim" we did show how a small group of Jews and people from Nephtali and Dan via Yemen may have gone to Ethiopia but most Ethiopian Jews are probably not descended from them.

<<In Ethiopia, they preserved authentic Jewish beliefs and practices, including belief in the G-d of Israel, His oneness, Jews as the Chosen People, Torah from Sinai, Reward and Punishment, Redemption, Messiah and Return to Zion. Their texts include: Torah (Orit), Prophets, Laws of Sambet (Sabbath), and Prayer book. They maintain strict Sabbath observance. For example, women prepare Sabbath food only after immersing in a mikve, work stops midday Friday, no fire is used to keep food warm, but they use candles for light, all work is forbidden, and they even wear a special Sabbath robe with no belt to prevent tying.

<<They pray 3 times a day - morning, noon, dusk - while facing Jerusalem, have certain blessings and observe Torah based Holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Passover, and Shavuoth - when only work to prepare food is permitted. They eat only meat from kosher animals and perform ritual slaughter while turning the animal's head toward Jerusalem and reciting a blessing. The blood is covered, the meat is salted to remove blood, and forbidden sinews and fats are removed. Meat and milk are not cooked together, but poultry is not considered meat for this purpose. They greatly emphasize ritual purity and their villages are always near a river for immersion. They purify from contact with dead after 7 days, sprinkling on the 3rd and 7th day with water from ashes of a red heifer. Menstruating women move to a separate
tent for 7 days until immersion.

<<The "Beta Israel" of Ethiopia are generally considered Jewish. The great halachic authority, Rabbi David ben Zimra (Israel, 1500's) wrote: "Those that come from the land of Cush (Ethiopia) are without doubt from the tribe of Dan, and because they did not have scholars of the Oral Law living with them they follow the superficial understanding of the Torah. But if they were taught, they would not reject the rabbinic teachings. Therefore it is a mitzvah to save them and support them" (Shut HaRadbaz 1:5, 1:7). Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, (Yabia Omer 8, Even HaEzer 11) also considers them Jewish without a doubt. Other poskim are unsure, and suggest that they undergo conversion to dispel any doubts.>>

Brit-Am says:
The above description has been proven to have had only partial applicability at best.
Nevertheless, it is not our aim to dispute anything concerning the Jews of Ethiopia.
In our opinion they are a portion of Judah and Judah is correct to recognize them regardless of where they came from.
At all events this is an internal matter for Judah to decide upon.
<<The other groups we'll discuss do not profess to be Jewish, and, as a result of assimilation, forced conversion and large-scale intermarriage, are not considered Jewish, although they certainly have vestiges of Jewish practices.

Brit-Am says:
The other groups are overwhelmingly pagans or Moslems and often anti-semites.

<<The tribes in Afghanistan are comprised of two groups. Those in Western Afghanistan bordering Iran call themselves "Yusufzai", Children of Josef. They claim to be descendents of Efraim and Menashe and have a tradition of being taken away from their ancient homeland. They live secluded in high mountains and marry only among themselves. They are devout Muslims but have Hebrew names, wear fringes on the corners of their clothing, light candles for Sabbath on Friday night and don't cut the hair on side of the head, all resembling the Jewish custom. The other group lives on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and call themselves "Bani Yisrael", Children of Israel. They have a tradition of being the Lost Tribes and use names such as Asher, Naftali, Efraim, Menashe, Reuven, and Gad. They circumcise on the 8th day, wear four cornered garments with fringes and some wear small boxes with verses inside. They light candles Friday night, don't labor or cook and bake 12 loaves. The tribes of Afghan number about 15 million individuals.

Brit-Am says:
Concerning Hebrew names and Jewish customs this too has been explained by the existence of Israelites in their areas before they came along and their adopting existing traditions. The Afghans also claim to be descended from Esau and thus consider themselves brothers of the Romans (who they say also descended from Edom, perhaps in this matter they were influenced by Jewish traditions). In addition they claim to be descended from the Tribe of Mohamed  that migrated out of Arabia. In the second World War they claimed to be the original Aryans and were pro-Nazi. Jews were killed in Afghanistan and according to one report whole villages disappeared and for some reason no-one discusses this point.
There were other influences in the area: a. Before the Muslims came along there was a movement in the area to adopt Jewish customs.
b. There was a group of Jews or converts to Judaism that called itself Beth Israel (perhaps due to a tradition of Israelites being formerly in the area) that was forced to become Muslim and assimilate itself within the existing Tribal system. Certain customs from this group were accepted by many of the others. Apart from that the description of  Jewish customs practised by this people may be true in part but much of it is apparently exaggerated.
Incidentally not only do some of the Afghans and Pathans  claim to be Israelites but so do the Haziris who also dwell in the area but are traditional enemies of the Afghans who oppressed them.

<<The Kashmiri live in Northern India bordering Tibet and Nepal. They
have a tradition that they are descendents of the Tribes of Israel.
They have a lighter complexion and different facial features than the local population. Their tribal names are reminiscent of the Hebrew: Asheriya, Dand, Gadha, Lavi, Kahana, Shaul; as well as the names of their places: Samaryah, Mamre, Pishgah, Heshba, Gochen. They light candles for Sabbath, observe a feast in spring called Pasca, adjust the lunar and solar calendars to coincide, have beards and side-locks, and the Star of David is prevalent on their dwellings and places of worship. They number 5-7 million.

Brit-Am says:
What we said concerning the Afghans also applies to the Kashmiri.
See our book "The Tribes" where not only our opinion but also that of
British scholars who lived in the area and studied the matter shows that
most Israelites who had been in the area moved out centuries ago.

<<On the border of Northeastern India between Bangladesh and Myanmar (Burma) live the Shin lung. They claim to be descendents of Menashe and have a detailed oral history of exile through Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Afghanistan where they were forcibly converted to Islam. They later migrated to Tibet, following the Wei River into central China, were persecuted by the Chinese, escaped and hid in mountainous caves, and there became known as "Shin lung" meaning mountain/cave dwellers. They were later banished and migrated west through Thailand, Myanmar, finally settling in the Chin Mountains on the border between Burma and Bangladesh. They performed circumcision on the 8th day until it became too difficult because of exile and persecution; now they only give the name on the 8th day.

The priest of every village is called Aaron, whose wardrobe resembles that of the high priest including a tunic, breastplate, embroidered coat, with belt and high hat. Apparently, they have offerings and sacrifices similar to those of the Torah. They have a traditional song that accompanied them through their migrations: "We must keep the Passover festival because we crossed the Red Sea on dry land. At night we crossed with a fire, and by day with a cloud. Enemies pursued us with chariots and the sea swallowed them up and used them as food for the fish. And when we were thirsty, we received water from the rock." There are some 1-2 million Shin lung. In the late 1800's missionaries arrived, and the Shin lung, recognizing beliefs and events in the Old Testament, converted to Christianity thinking they were returning to their ancestral people. Eventually, many realized they descended from Jews, and thousands converted to Judaism. Of those, 5000 live in Burma, and a few hundred have settled in Israel.

Brit-Am says:
The whole story concerning the Shin lung is based on unsubstantiated story-telling originating in the last few years.
On the other hand those few hundred who have come to Israel appear genuine and likeable on the whole.
Those who advocate their case apparently felt a need for a "tradition".

<<The last group that lives in areas mentioned in our sources is the
Chiang-Min, on the border between Tibet and China in the mountainous area of Sichuan. They appear more Semitic than Oriental, and have a tradition of having migrated from the West after a journey of 3 years and 3 months. They claim to descend from Abraham, and their ancestor had 12 sons. They believe in one all-powerful god called the "Father of Heaven" who they refer to in times of trouble by the tetragrammaton. He watches over the world, judges fairly, rewards the righteous, punishes the wicked, accepts repentance, and gives atonement. In the past, they had written scrolls of parchment and books, but they were lost. It is forbidden to worship foreign gods or idols upon punishment of death. They also have priestly and sacrificial services reminiscent of those of the Torah, using an earthen altar that must not be fashioned by metal tools, where the priest places his hand on the head of the sacrifice.

Brit-Am says:
Concerning the Chiang-Min we do not know. We dopubt the whole story. They may be descended partly from Jews or from Israelites or from Nestorian Christians or from some other group.

<<Thus far, we have located peoples that may be remnants of the Lost Tribes,

Brit-Am says:
The key word here is "may be" and I would say "probably not".

<< living in places mentioned in our sources such as Ethiopia, Iran/Afghanistan, India and China. In the next installment, we'll explore the possibility of the Lost Tribes reaching a place not mentioned in our sources, namely Japan, and we'll conclude with a discussion of whether the Lost Tribes will ever be re-united with the Jewish people.

Brit-Am says:
Some Israelites may have reached Japan but I doubt if they were numerous
or left anything of substance behind them.
See the Brit-Am article: " The Japanese are not Hebrews!"

Brit-Am says:
Brit-Am also employs historical proofs, customs, legends, linguistics, archaeology, etc. to prove its case along with Rabbinical Sources (such as Rashi, Nachmanides, etc) that are more revered than those used here.
Our proofs are better and more substantiated than those of anybody else.
More importantly than all of these the Bible unequivocally affirms Brit-Am beliefs.

If you have a problem with Brit-Am then you have a problem with the Bible.
If you have a problem with the Bible than you have a problem with the truth.


- North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry Arimasa Kubo, The Ten   Lost Tribes of Israel in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Myanmar, and   China
- Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, Amishav Organization
"Where there is no man, be that man."
Regardless of our level of religious observance or education, to serve G-d properly all Jews must be united.
"All of Yisroel is responsible for each other" (Midrash Eicha 3:39).>>

Brit-Am says:
Before anything else is considered Brit-Am Biblical Proofs showing the Lost Ten Tribes to be in the West deserve to be studied.
The Bible is true and the Brit-Am position is that of the Bible.
See also:
"Ephraimite Criteria. How Do You Know You Descend from Israel?"

#B. Subject: Brit-Am and Burma? no.1 Reaction
Brit-Am and Burma? no.2 Sources
Brit-Am and Burma? no.3 Readers Reactions
#5. Joan Griffith: The Wisdom of Prudence
#6. Lost Tribes Distinguished by their "Mentality"
#3. Ian McRae: Israelite Mentality and Brit-Am Reply
#3. Israel Feld: Mystical-Psychological Explanation of "Burma and Brit-Am"
#5. David Ben-Ariel: Only USA Manasseh followed by News Item
#1. Questions and Comments from Kyrgistan with Brit-Am Answers
#2. David Jackson: Remarks on (1) Soccer and (2) Israel's Descendants
#2. Questions
What about the Pathans?
"Torah observant Israelite" wishes to make Aliyah
What are you doing?
#3. Are The Kurds from the Lost Ten Tribes?
#2. Question and Comment on the Kurds and the LTTs.
#2. William Rasmussen: "B'nai Menashe" furor an Opportunity?
#8. Cecil Davis: Lost Ten Tribes in South America?
#4. Q. Why is there so much Support for Bnei Menasheh?
#4. "Shavei Israel" and Alternative Identifications
#5. Other Ten Tribes Claims:
Brit-Am is the only LEGITIMATE answer
#3. Other Claims to be Israelites
"Brit-Am Now"-969
#2. Shavei Israel and the Burma Blues Again
"Brit-Am Now"-971
#3. Thomas Malloy: Burma Blues Turn Green?
"Brit-Am Now"-976
#3. Meeting of Brit-Am Representatives with Rabbi Avichail

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