CHURACHANDPUR, India (AP) — A group of 50 Jews said to descend from one of the 10 Lost Tribes prepared Thursday to emigrate to Israel from their village in northeastern India.

The members of the Bnei Menashe community prayed in their local synagogue and then hugged their crying relatives before heading off to the airport in the Manipur state capital of Imphal, 55 kilometers (34 miles) away.

The Bnei Menashe say they are descended from Jews banished from ancient Israel to India in the eighth century B.C.

An Israeli chief rabbi recognized them as a lost tribe in 2005 and about 1,700 moved to Israel before the Israeli government stopped giving them visas. The government recently reversed that policy. About 7,200 remain in India.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.