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Tens of hundreds of Jewish pilgrims in Ukraine regardless of conflict


Tens of hundreds of Hasidic Jews gathered within the Ukrainian metropolis of Uman for his or her annual pilgrimage, officers stated Sunday, regardless of authorities asking them to skip the journey due to the conflict.

Every yr, Hasidic Jewish pilgrims come to Uman in central Ukraine from internationally to go to the tomb of one of many major figures of Hasidic Judaism for the Jewish new yr celebration of Rosh Hashanah.

“This is the most important day of the year to be able to connect with God. And this a great place to do it,” one pilgrim, Aaron Allen, instructed AFP.

Uman is comparatively removed from the frontline, however Ukrainian and Israeli authorities nonetheless urged worshippers to skip the celebrations going down between September 25 and 27 this yr.

Despite the warnings, crowds of Hasidim wearing conventional black clothes gathered in Uman, celebrating within the streets.

“There were sirens, but coming from Israel we are used to sirens, we know what to do. We feel pretty safe,” stated Allen, a 48-year-old physician from Yad Binyamin.

Pilgrims typically cite a spiritual textual content from Rabbi Nachman, the founding father of an ultra-Orthodox motion who died within the metropolis in 1810, by which he promised he would “save (worshippers) from hell” in the event that they came around his tomb on Rosh Hashanah.

Police arrange a large perimeter to entry the realm across the grave, checking IDs and solely letting via residents and Hasidim.

The sale of alcohol, fireworks and toy weapons is forbidden through the festivities in Uman, regional police spokeswoman Zoya Vovk instructed AFP. A curfew between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am can also be in place.

– Buzzing celebrations –

In his day by day deal with to the nation on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated he wished to “congratulate the Ukrainian Jewish community and all Jews around the world on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah.”

“May all prayers for victory, all prayers for peace in Ukraine be heard”, he added.

And regardless of the restrictions, the shrine housing the tomb was buzzing with celebrations on Sunday.

Pilgrims — solely males and boys — had been praying, pressed towards the white partitions and columns of the burial place.

Outside, a simultaneous prayer from a whole lot of pilgrims resonated.

Metres away from the temple, shouting over a multi-voiced prayer, pilgrim Yaniv Vakhnin defined how Rabbi Nachman might present solace on the most difficult of instances.

“Rabbi Nachman says that even (when) there is war in a country whoever listens to him will not be affected”, the 48-year-old from Safed in northern Israel stated.

“We are protected fully by the tzaddik (Nachman), and we feel very safe and very happy to be together,” he added.

Vakhnin stated it took him 30 hours to get to Uman: first a flight to neighbouring Romania after which a 15-hour bus journey.

He got here to Ukraine as a affirmation of the steadfastness of his religion with two of his youngsters, whereas 5 extra remained at home.

“We are going to pray to God. And hopefully Ukraine will not be hurt and will win the war, because Rabbi Nachman is buried here, so Ukraine is protected,” Vakhnin stated.

The United Jewish Community of Ukraine organisation stated that greater than 23,000 pilgrims had arrived in Uman.

Police is not going to reveal precisely what number of pilgrims have attended till the tip of the festivities for fear of assaults from Russia.

“We understand that there is a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and that the enemy is monitoring information,” police spokeswoman Vovk instructed AFP.

“The only thing I can say is tens of thousands (of pilgrims have already arrived)”.

In September 2020, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews had been trapped for days between the borders of Belarus and Ukraine after Kyiv refused to permit them entry as a result of Covid pandemic.

Uman was hit by Russian missiles within the early weeks of the conflict, and final month a civilian was killed by a Russian missile within the district.


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