over the past decades, the bnei menashe tribe have been immigrating from india to israel. they are returning to ancestral homeland after approximately 2700 years of separation. they left israel 721 B.C. . the bnei menashe reside in north east india. they claim to be descendants of the tribe of menashe, one of the ten lost tribes. bneimenshe.com
like all immigrant groups, the bnei menashe have begin their immersion and integration into israeli society. one diminutive bnei mensashe has gone one step further. she is transforming it.
while living in india, ms. dina samte became blind at 5 years of age. she had a passion for music and singing. as a young child, with her mother who is a guitarist, she practiced singing. she self-taught herself to play musical instruments. in india, it is reported that she was banned from attending school as other parents feared that her condition was contagious. timesofisrael
ms. sampte was featured in a news report as a newly arrived immigrant to israel. there is a telling moment in this video. a bnei mensashe member interviewed told the reporter that ms. samte was already a big deal in india. it was reported that before coming to israel, her music was being sold and she was performing at functions. this is remarkable in that she she arrived in israel at age 10.
moving to israel was a mere set to ms. samte’s career. she learned hebrew and was trained the skills to adapt to israeli society as an impaired individual. as part of her training, she attended the shalva organization. shalva provides a wide range of services for the disabled. shalva also had a band which she joined.
ms. samte, while she benefits from shalva, was in fact a gift to the organization.
ms. samte fronts with the shalva band with an equally talented bandmate, anael khalifa. the band has transformed israeli society and europe with respect to the concepts of societal integration of the impaired.
impaired musicians is not something or new. ray charles, stevie wonder, diane schuur, jose feliciano, and andre bocelli are among a number of very sucessful impaired artists. what makes ms. samte different is that her band consists of other impaired musicians.
ms. samte’s story continues.
ms. sampte is now a figure representing both the bnei mensahe and the impaired. she was honored to light an israel independence day torch at the official state ceremony.
thus, india’s treasure has continued to grow in israel. ms. samte’s story continues.
as part of the shavla band, she participated in israel’s national competition to win a place in the 2019 eurovision contest. in essence, a band of impaired artists competed against non-impaired artists. the shock was that the shalva band were favorites to win the opportunity to represent israel. the band, however, decided to withdraw due to some band member’s sabbath observance.
eurovision, aware of the band’s notoriety, had them guest perform during the contest. the performance was well received. an estimated audience of 200 million was now exposed to both the awareness and potential of the disabled. india’s gift became a gift to europe.
ms. samte’s story continues.
she and the shalva band have now perform worldwide. they have performed before many dignitaries including the president of the united states.
india’s gift is now a gift to the world.
her biggest strength in singing, however, is not her voice. her talent is as a song leader. she defines her success by audience reaction. while she is not overtly demanding, she will often politely requests that the audience join in and participate. additionally, she has deep appreciation to her fellow bandmates.
she is truly “living the dream.”
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