20,000 pilgrims travel to burial site of Rabbi Nachman in Uman

Thousands of Jewish pilgrims traveled to central Ukraine to mark the Jewish new year.

The pilgrims, many traveling from Israel, converged on the small city of Uman, the burial site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a revered Hasidic rabbi who died in 1810.

The city, 200 kilometers south of the capital, Kyiv, typically attracts thousands of pilgrims for Rosh Hashana.

Uman has seen the sudden opening and expansion of hostels, kosher restaurants and other basic services  to absorb the thousands of pilgrims expected to arrive in the coming days.

More than 35,000 pilgrims visited last year even in the face of pandemic travel restrictions.

This year’s turnout was smaller, though still substantial, considering that no commercial flights are arriving in the country. The visitors flew to nearby countries, then traveled on by bus or car.

Nachman was the legendary founder of the Bratslav Hasidic sect, which places a high priority on joy and individual ecstatic prayer, and the grandson of the mythic founder of Hasidic Judaism the Baal Shem Tov.

During his relatively short life — he died at the age of 38 — Nachman stressed to his disciples the importance of celebrating the Rosh Hashanah holiday with him.

As a result, immediately after his death, his followers made annual pilgrimages to his tomb in Uman on Rosh Hashanah.


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