Thousands of Hasidic Jews, on their annual pilgrimage to Uman, Cherkasy Oblast, to observe Rosh Hashanah, came together in a prayer for peace in Ukraine at noon on Sept. 15, national broadcaster Suspilne reports.
According to Suspilne, one devout individual implored both Ukrainians and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to visit the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman and pray for a swift victory.
“If Volodymyr Zelenskyy comes here and prays, if he desires victory for the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian military in this war, come here and beseech God. And I assure you, as does Rabbi Nachman — victory will be yours,” the pilgrim said.
As of the morning of Sept. 15, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine confirmed that 32,332 Hasidic pilgrims had arrived in Uman. This marked a notable increase from the previous year, which saw over 23,000 attendees.
At total of 10,088 pilgrims crossed the state border at various checkpoints in a period of just 24 hours.
The gravesite of Rabbi Nachman, located in the Jewish cemetery in Uman, serves as a pilgrimage destination for Hasidic Jews from across the globe. Annually, they gather there to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Uman, the number of visiting Hasidic Jews typically ranged from 20,000 to 40,000.
On Sept. 11, reports surfaced that, in defiance of warnings from diplomatic services and the Office of the President of Ukraine, over 3,000 pilgrims had already arrived in Uman.
Amid concerns of potential suspension of visa-free travel with Israel, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel, Yevhen Korniychuk, emphasized the difficulties in safeguarding tens of thousands of Hasidic pilgrims from Russian attacks due to the absence of air defense systems.
The diplomat said that the embassy’s position was that if, for any reason, Israel did not wish to provide arms for the protection of Ukrainian citizens, “perhaps they intend to safeguard their own interests.”
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