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Ukrainians protest Chasidic pilgrimage to Uman

JTA

September 26, 2011 | 11:36 am

Dozens of Ukrainian nationalists protested the annual pilgrimage of Jews to the grave of a Chasidic rabbi in Uman.

Sunday’s protest, organized by the nationalist Svoboda Party, demanded increased legal controls on the thousands of pilgrims who annually visit the grave of Reb Nachman of Bratslav, the founder and spiritual leader of the Bratslav Chasidic movement, to celebrate the Jewish New Year. The protest said the pilgrimage presents a security and health risk, and that the pilgrims treat Uman residents disrespectfully.

Protesters shouted slogans such as “Ukraine for Ukrainians,” according to The Associated Press.

Some 25,000 Jews from around the world flock to the central Ukrainian city each year to visit the grave of Reb Nachman, who was born in the city of Medzhybizh in 1772 and died in 1810 in Uman. Since then, Uman has become a mecca for Bratslaver Chasidim, particularly on Rosh Hashanah.

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