Israel Airport Authorities and workers at Ben Gurion International Airport are bracing themselves for the onslaught this week when 160 flights will depart to Uman, in Ukraine.
Some 30,000 travelers are flying to the grave site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov on what is for many an annual pilgrimage on Jewish high holy days, arriving at the tomb of the 19th century Chassidic rebbe just before Rosh Hashana, the holiday on which he deemed it most important for his Chassidim to gather with him during his lifetime.
Rebbe Nachman, who lived from 1772 to 1810, was a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. He combined mystical teachings of Kabbalah with Torah scholarship in his teachings of the thousands of followers who were attracted to his movement, which was not dynastic, and not a traditional Chassidic court.
The concept of God taught by Rebbe Nachman, that one could speak to Him as a “best friend,” that He is someone with whom anyone could connect on the simplest of levels, made the Divine completely accessible, and God easily approachable to those who felt alienated by religion. To this day, the Breslov movement remains vibrant and continues to attract new followers.
Rebbe Nachman visited Israel from 1798 to 1799, spending time in Haifa, Tverya (Tiberias) and Tzefat.
In Israel, travelers to Uman are being asked to arrive at the airport four hours ahead of schedule in order to ease the processing due to the massive crowds that are expected.
Registration processing and passport control will take place both in Terminal 1 and in Terminal 3. Some 1.7 million travelers are expected to pass through the airport during this holiday season — about eight percent more than the number of travelers seen last year, officials said.Hana Levi Julian