Chief Ukraine rabbi urges Uman authorities to remove provocative cross

By JTA
August 22, 2013 21:14

 
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A crucifix placed near the Uman grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov should be removed, the chief rabbi of Ukraine said.

“Ukraine is not a Jewish country and Ukrainian Jews respect Christian symbols like crosses,” Rabbi Yaakov Bleich told the Jewish Ukrainian news site Еvreiskiy.kiev.ua. “However, the cross raised in Uman, in the immediate vicinity of the tomb of Rabbi Nachman, is a clear provocation.”

Bleich said the installation of the cross by an unnamed religious society was not endorsed by the leadership of Christian denominations nor by the local authorities, who he said should intervene.

Earlier this month, graffiti scrawled in Hebrew was discovered on the crucifix, which was erected in recent weeks on the banks of a lake near the grave of the 18th-century founder of the Breslov hasidic movement.

The message read, “To exact vengeance on the gentiles.” A further inscription on the crucifix’s leg read, “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

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