There will be no mass pilgrimage of Hasidic Jews to Uman this year

There will be no mass pilgrimage of Hasidic Jews to Uman this year - фото 1
This year, a mass Hasidic pilgrimage to Uman, Cherkasy region, to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Mayor of Uman Oleksandr Tsebriy and his post on Facebook, this decision was made on July 9 at an interdepartmental meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Ukrinform reports.

"The interdepartmental meeting in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine resulted in the consensus of opinion that the arrival of tens of thousands of Hasidic pilgrims to Uman as well as the traditional format of celebration is impossible," Tsebriy said.

According to the document provided by the mayor, the participants of the meeting considered several aspects: the current epidemiological situation in Israel (it remains in the 'red zone' due to the COVID-19 spread rate); ban on holding mass events in Ukraine; the strain put on Ukrainian medical institutions; the need for a significant number of places for observation and ensuring safety and health of both Ukrainian and foreign citizens; the issues with the control of law enforcement agencies over the observance of the self-isolation regime by pilgrims.

It is noted that in late June-early July, there were several talks and meetings between the officials of both countries. Also, the Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine Viktor Liashko and the Director of the International Relations Division in the Ministry of Health of Israel Asher Salmon had a private telephone conversation concerning the issue. The Israeli side consented to cancel this years' international pilgrimage to Uman as long as the official position of the Ukrainian side on this matter is announced beforehand.

Also, the document refers to current attempts to 'politicize' the issue of this year's Hasidic visit to Uman. In particular, some organizations interpret quarantine restrictions as a manifistation of 'anti-Semitism.' Therefore, it is requested to develop an agreed state position and make appropriate decisions on the organization of this year's celebration of Rosh Hashanah by the Jewish community (a limited number of representatives of the local Hasidic community, organization of online broadcasts, etc.).

Earlier, Mayor of Uman Tsebriy opposed the arrival of Hasidic pilgrims to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, believing that the influx of large numbers of foreigners from different countries could cause an outbreak of coronavirus in the city.

Uman, where the founder of Bratslav Hasidism, Tzaddik Nachman, is buried, is the place of mass pilgrimage for his followers. Every fall, 20-30 thousand pilgrims from different countries come here to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

This years' celebration of Rosh Hashanah falls on September 18-20.