Ukraine warns Israel: No pilgrimages to Uman for Jewish New Year

“Please pray that the war will end before the Jewish new year.”

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Ukraine warned Israelis against planning pilgrimages to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman for the Jewish new year.

“I have checked with the president’s office and was told that we will not allow tourists from anywhere to enter the country because we cannot guarantee their safety,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Kornichuk said on Facebook.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was a Hassidic master who died in 1810 and was buried in Uman, in central Ukraine. His grave is a popular Jewish pilgrimage site, especially during the Jewish new year.

Before the COVID pandemic, tens of thousands of Jews would visit Uman for the High Holidays.

The ambassador has also been reaching out to Israel’s ultra-Orthodox media to inform would-be pilgrims of the tourism ban.

Kornichuk instead requested that Jews pray for Ukraine.

“Your prayers are important to us,” he said. “Please pray that the war will end before the Jewish new year,” Kornichuk said.

“We hope that the prayers will be fulfilled and that Ukraine will once again be a country that generously receives visitors from Israel, and especially Jews who come to Ukraine to visit the graves of the righteous,” he added.

The ambassador separately explained to Haaretz that the ban was “to avoid big crowds that can be easily targeted,” and was not related to a recent dispute with Israel over visas for Ukrainian refugees.

Commercial airlines are not currently flying into Ukraine. Travelers instead must fly into one of the neighboring countries and cross into Ukraine by bus or train.