Restrictions Threaten Bratslav Pesach in Uman

Zohar Blumenkrantz
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Zohar Blumenkrantz

The Bratslav Hasidic community's traditional Pesach pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Nachman in Uman, Ukraine is scheduled to begin today, but restrictions imposed by the Ukrainian embassy in Israel could lead to the trip's being canceled entirely.

MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) sent a letter on the community's behalf to the Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry in charge of relations with Russia, CIS and East European countries, Pinhas Avivi, calling for the ministry's urgent attention so the trip could still go ahead.

"The Ukrainian embassy is creating a number of difficulties for the Breslav Hasidim flying to Uman, mainly regarding the issue of security," Porush wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz. "As if that weren't enough, a few days ago without prior warning the embassy demanded three additional working days to issue visas. This demand is a critical blow," Porush wrote.

"I received the letter, and we have contacted the top levels of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on the matter," Avivi told Haaretz in response. "We were told that instructions would be sent to the ambassador in Israel. And indeed, we later received confirmation that instruction was received and that the matter is being dealt with."