Uman becomes ‘Israeli’ for Rosh Hashanah

According to one diplomatic official, the visiting Israelis are more likely to listen to an Israeli policeman in uniform warning him of misbehavior, than to a local gendarme.

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August 28, 2018 22:44
1 minute read.
Uman becomes ‘Israeli’ for Rosh Hashanah

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrim blows a shofar, near the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov during the celebration of Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Jewish New Year, in Uman, Ukraine, September 21, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

For the myriad Israelis traveling some 2,750 km. to Uman, Ukraine next month to celebrate Rosh Hashanah at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, there will be much that feels like home: the sound of the shofar, Hebrew signs, the food.

Add to that mix uniformed Israeli police.

Though the police have sent a delegation to Uman in recent years to keep an eye on the festivities – the largest of such gathering of Jews in the Diaspora – this will be the first year that Kiev is permitting the police to patrol in uniform.

The reason, according to one diplomatic official, is that the visiting Israelis are more likely to listen to an Israeli policeman in uniform warning him of misbehavior, than to a local gendarme.

Nevertheless, the Foreign Ministry – which announced Tuesday that it was setting up a temporary consulate at the site to deal with consular issues sure to arise given the tens of thousands of Israelis there – called on pilgrims to listen to local law enforcement officials.

In an unusual message to travelers, the ministry issued a statement emphasizing that “every Israeli citizen traveling to Ukraine – as everywhere else in the world – is obligated to obey the local law and listen to the directions of the local security officials.”

The ministry said it is sending consular reinforcements to Ukraine, and that a ministry official will be in Uman throughout the holiday. The representative will deal with urgent consular issues that arise, such as lost or stolen travel documents, as well as provide the types of emergency services provided by Israel’s embassies around the world.

In addition to the police, the emergency responder groups Magen David Adom and Hatzalah are also expected again to have ambulances and paramedics on hand. Last year, MDA provided emergency aid to a 42-year-old man who was stabbed in an altercation with another Israeli near the grave of Rabbi Nachman.

Uman is a city of 70,000 people some 240 km. south of the capital Kiev. Every Rosh Hashanah, thousands of residents rent out their homes to visiting Jews. Last year some 40,000 Israelis made the pilgrimage to the site for the two-day New Year holiday.


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