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September 18, 2023 11:12 am

Hasidic Pilgrim Dies During Rosh Hashanah Celebrations in Ukrainian City of Uman

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Hasidic pilgrims are seen worshiping in the Ukrainian city of Uman. Photo: Reuters/Vladyslav Musiienko

A Hasidic Jewish pilgrim was reported to have died in the Ukrainian city of Uman on Sunday night, as more than 35,000 worshippers celebrated the Rosh Hashanah holiday at the grave of a revered rabbi.

Israeli media outlets reported that the 55-year-old victim was named David Mirashvili, a resident of Netanya near Tel Aviv.

Zoya Vovk, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian police, told local broadcaster Channel 24 that the police received a report of the death at 5.30 on Sunday afternoon. Vovk said that there was no evidence that the dead man had been the victim of violence. No further details were forthcoming.

Another Hasidic pilgrim who suffered a heart attack on Sunday was reported to be recovering in a hospital in the city of Odesa.

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Despite the perilous security situation amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Hasidic pilgrims were undeterred from making the traditional Jewish New Year pilgrimage to the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the revered founder of the Breslover Hasidim, in Uman, which lies in the south of the country in the Cherkasy region.

Both the Ukrainian authorities and the Israeli government had urged the pilgrims to exercise extra caution this year, calling on them to reconsider their plans to travel to the city via the neighboring country of Moldova.

While this year’s pilgrimage passed largely without incident, seven Israelis were arrested by local law enforcement — four for narcotics offenses and another three who were involved in a fatal road accident in which an Israeli woman was killed.

In 1941, the Germans deported the entire Jewish community in Uman, murdering 17,000 Jews and destroying the local Jewish cemetery — including Rabbi Nachman’s grave, which was eventually recovered and relocated. About 1 million Ukrainian Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

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