More than 30,000 Hasidic Jewish pilgrims plan to travel to Uman, Cherkasy Oblast, in September 2023 for the annual Rosh Hashanah celebration at the tomb of Reb Nachman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.
The number of expected Jewish pilgrims was reported on Aug. 16 by the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience.
The city and regional authorities are currently resolving issues related to security, entry and registration procedures, living conditions, etc.
At the same time, it is almost impossible to provide such a large number of people with space in bomb shelters in a relatively small area, said Uman Mayor Iryna Pletnyova.
This year, Hasidic Jews can use a special website and a hotline through which they can remain informed about the pilgrimage and rules of stay.
More than 23,000 Hasidic Jewish pilgrims traveled to Uman in 2022, despite Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine.
Amid speculations about a possible suspension of visa-free travel with Israel, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel, Yevhen Korniichuk, said that Ukraine cannot safeguard several tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews from potential Russian attacks due to the absence of air defense systems.
The diplomat pointed out that if, for some reason, Israel doesn’t want to provide weapons for the defense of Ukrainian citizens, they should consider protecting their own.
Reb Nachman’s tomb in Uman is a major religious destination for Hasidic Jews, with 20,000-40,000 pilgrims celebrating Rosh Hashanah there every year.
A Russian missile attack on Uman on April 28 killed 23 people, including three children. Nine people were injured in the attack. In one apartment building that was struck, 29 out of 46 apartments were destroyed.
Condemning the Russian attack, which occurred far from the front lines and did not result in any military casualties, visiting Czech President Petr Pavel said that the bombardment shows that Russia is intentionally targeting civilians in Ukraine.
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