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(May 29, 2024) In a communique received from the Ministry of Aliya & Absorption, the ministry's Israel Students' Authority and the Jewish Agency in partnership with leading universities and institutions, which includes the likes of The Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, Technion etc to name a few, are offering academic opportunities for young olim upto 35 years of age. The fields covered are wide and diverse and there is every possibility that students will find area of their interests. On offer are several Undergraduate, Masters' and Doctorate programs covering a vast array of subjects. There are comprehensive preparatory programs for Olim. As of now, there are some undergraduate programs offered in English in the initial year. Potential candidates are advised to go through the information provided below. For any clarifications you may call Jessica at 0546707854 or Yitzhak at 0546707853.

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Yoel Gangte

(May 5, 2024) A week ago, our Newsletter, gave a report on the success of a B'nei Menashe student, Alona Lamneikim Touthang on her securing a first division in her high school leaving examination. Now a week later, we have an additional three who have secured first division for the junior high school examinations. It may be mentioned there are two board examinations a student has to clear before heading for colleges and universities. The first one is taken at 10th standard and the second and final one at 12th standard. Alona had cleared her 12th level while the three others, their 10th level. As is quite evident, success at the 10th level usually paves way for success in the next and deciding level.

Talora Sitlhou and her father, Ya'acov

It is a proud moment for all B'nei Menashe given that these children had been able to achieve such success despite the challenges that came to them by way of the war and displacement that they had to face in the last one year or so. No less praiseworthy are the parents who encouraged and inspired them.

Fourteen-year-old, Kimneivah Talora Sithlou and her family belonged to the Kanchup B'nei Menashe community until their community was uprooted. They were absorbed by Beit Shalom, Kanggui (formerly Kangpokpi). Having lost most of their possession, the family rebuilt their lives giving an emphasis on their children's education. It has been a winning investment since she scored distinction, a commendation on two subjects: Thadou-Kuki Language and Home Science.

Orli Touthang, a worthy sequel

Orli Chinneiting Touthang's story is not too different either. Her entire family reside in Ma'oz Tzur, which clearly speaks of their status of being displaced. Incidentally, she is the younger sister of high-achiever, Alona Touthang. The last on the list is Yoel Lalphungluoi Gangte of Lamka township. His family are longtime residents of Lamka, hence less effected by the upsurge but nevertheless, living in its shadow.

It has been oft repeated that children are the future. With that in mind, given the results this year, it forbodes well for the B'nei Menashe. We wish all B'nei Menashe children to continue in this path of pursuing excellence in education.

Updated: May 26

Shabbat Shalom

 Parsha Behar - The Great Reboot by Dan Cohen

It seems like I have democracy and governance in my brain. Last week and this week, I’ve read the parsha through the lens of how we join together as people to form a society.

Our expectations of each other in a functioning democracy are unclear these days. In the U.S. and Israel, our leaders too often prioritize self-interest over national interest. Participants often overprioritize their interests above their fellow men. Yet the notion of the Yovel year, the Jubilee Year, allows us to think, examine, and reset our relationship with each other and our chosen leaders.

The parshiot give us some guidance. In Chapter 25, Verse 9, we read, “You shall proclaim [with] the shofar blasts, in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month; on the Day of Atonement, you shall sound the shofar throughout your land.”

Rav Hirsch makes the following point.  Yom Kippur is a day of moral rebirth. Yovel, the Jubilee Year, is for social rebirth. 

In the Jubilee year, slaves are officially free on Rosh Hashanah, but they are not released until Yom Kippur. When the shofar sounds on Yom Kippur, the gift of liberation is official.

Why the delay?  Enslaved people were supposed to celebrate and enjoy the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, who were no longer subservient but still in their master's home. They eat and drink with their masters with crowns on their heads, he adds. Only when the shofar sounds can they go free

This is a reminder that resetting social expectations takes work and the agreement of all parties. Imagine the mindset of an enslaver serving food and drink to his former slave. This is a great model for adjusting our assumptions to welcome others as partners in forming a viable and resilient nation.

In the following verse, Chapter 25, Verse 10, we read, “And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year, and proclaim freedom [for slaves] throughout the land for all who live on it. It shall be a Jubilee for you, and you shall return, each man to his property, and you shall return, each man to his family.”

Hirsch focuses on the word Dror, which many translate as freedom. Looking at the word’s origins, he identifies various meanings. One emphasizes the purity of the material that goes into making something. Another is a bird that cannot be tamed and retains its freedom. That bird follows its most natural tendencies.

He then explains that we can learn from the Torah's use of the word Dror that “persons and property revert to where they naturally belong—a man to his family, and property reverts by right to its original ownership.”

Yovel restores the legal dignity of a person, which he says is the precise definition of freedom (or I also read: liberty)

Much later in his analysis, Hirsch concludes that the Yovel year, signified by the shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee Year, brings about the nation's social and political rebirth. It has a healing and therapeutic effect on both internal and external affairs. 

He says it is a gift from Hashem. Hashem's grace restores our social and political freedom. Once applied, Israel can be a shining example to the nations and encourage them to learn Gd's ways. This is the only path to ensuring justice, freedom, and everlasting peace on earth. 

This is a tall order for each of you as participants in a thriving and tumultuous democracy.  In Israel, social and political inequality is rampant. Economic and religious disparities divide one from another. Society seems hell-bent on finding ways to divide us rather than unite us.

Into this mix, you will emerge as adults. Hirsch shows us two lessons that can guide you.

We must remember that all of us, slave and master, rich and poor, man or woman, are made in Gd's image and deserve all the rights that go with that.  We must also remember that the goal is to help each other realize the full extent of our liberty derived from our most natural state and make space to ensure others can fulfill theirs. When we can be fully ourselves, we are free to serve Hashem to the best of our abilities.


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