ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Four of our oral history project’s interviewees.
Degel Menashe’s oral history project predates Degel Menashe – or more exactly, Degel Menashe grew out of this project, which began in 2017. Thus far, it has involved hundreds of hours of interviewing and recording elderly members of the B’nei Menashe community in Israel who were active in the founding generation of the Judaism movement in northeast India. Many of them were born in small, isolated villages in the jungles of Mizoram and Manipur, in which they or their parents were raised in the old pre-Christian religion of their ancestors; grew up to benefit from the schooling, literacy, and modernization that Christianity and an adherence to it afforded; and made their way from there to Judaism and to Israel. They have in effect lived several lives in one, and our project preserves their remarkable and often inspiring stories.
Twelve of these interviews, translated into English and edited, will be published by Gaon Books of Santa Fe, New Mexico in a volume to be titled Lives of the Children of Manasia. Excerpts from several of them can be read below.