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The recent placing of a crucifix near the Uman grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was an act of “clear provocation,” said Ukraine’s Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, who called for its immediate removal.

“Ukraine is not a Jewish country, and Ukrainian Jews respect Christian symbols like crosses,” 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.”

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Earlier this month, Hebrew graffiti 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 Hebrew message read: “To exact vengeance on the gentiles.” A further inscription on the crucifix’s leg reads: “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

Referring to an estimated 30,000 Jewish pilgrims expected to arrive in Uman for Rosh Hashanah, Bleich said: “They will not be able to pray there this year.” He told JTA the cross would prevent the pilgrims from performing tashlich, a prayer often accompanied with the ritual of symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I read about this yesterday. I hate crosses and what they represent. But the Rabbi should have made his call first before the escalation. Jews everywhere need to make this call as soon as it presents.

  2. As a Christian I ask myself, would I be offended by a star of David near to a place of pilgrimage or prayer?  I don’t believe I would, nor any other Christian I know.  I’m interested that the cross has such power to offend, even or especially, atheists are offended by the cross which is weird when they don’t believe in God.

  3. I think the isue here is very simple. The cross is merely a symbol of the Christian faith. The Sta of David is merely a symbolof Israel and the Jewish people. God is above symbols. If mere symbols, invite such dissent which typically brings out people's prejudices and leads to hatred and violence, then move the symbols. It will not offend God. A true Christian knows this. What will offend God, is the sinful way that people react becuase of the symbols that peole come to idolise and fear. I am a Christian who loves Jews who love Christians. We are all created equalin the eyes of God. Get over the differences and put Him first before taking unneccessary offense.

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