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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Uman’

Update: Search Upgraded in Uman for Missing Israeli Husband, Father

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Amir Ohana, a 28-year-old Israeli husband and father of three is still reported missing in Uman, ZAKA officials report, and efforts are being intensified on his behalf. His Hebrew name for prayers to be said on his behalf for a safe return is Amir Shlomo ben Orly.

More than 40,000 Breslov Chassidim traveled from around the world to the town this holiday to pray on Rosh Hashana at the grave of the movement’s founder, Rabbi Nachman. Ohana went missing after he entered the nearby Ukraine forest to meditate on Tuesday. He has not been seen since.

A team has been flown into the town from Israel and set up a search command center, according to ZAKA, which added that there is a “medical component” to the issue that is of great concern to those who are searching for Ohana. Specially trained dogs have been added now to the search as well.

Amir Ohana was together with a friend when he first entered the forest, but the two split up for “hitbodedut” – a Chassidic form of meditation – his family reported. When his friend was unable to find him later, however, he reported him missing to both local police and Israeli security personnel.

Police searched the forest and the nearby river but local forces reportedly have not been seen in the area since their intial efforts, Ichud Breslov reported.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been actively involved, and said “local authorities, local police and Israeli officials have been tasked with stepping up searches” for Ohana. “The Israeli diplomatic staff in Ukraine is being reinforced in order to meet the needs of all Israelis who come to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in Uman. They will help search. We are in contact with the family and hope for good results,” a spokesperson said.

“My husband loves traveling to Uman for Rosh Hashana meditation,” wrote Ohana’s wife, Meital Tohar, in a Facebook post asking for help in the search. “He disappeared into the forest… Amir my love, my heart goes out to you in prayer. Come back to me. To all who see this message, pray for my husband,” she added.

Those who have information about Ohana are asked to call 093-72-12-606 or 063-24-14-934

N-Ne-Neo Nazis in Uman?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

The annual flood of Jews coming to pray at the graveside of Breslov Chassidic leader Rabbi Nachman in the Ukraine town of Uman may be a bit more uncomfortable this year.

Nationalist Ukrainian fighters in Uman have attacked the massive tent used to welcome the tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims who stream to the grave site of the 18th century Chassidic Rebbe.

Uman, in the Cherkazy Province, is inundated each year by Jews from around the world who come to pray at the Rebbe’s graveside on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.

But this year a Ukrainian nationalist group with neo-Nazi leanings stormed the site and destroyed the large central tent used as a welcome center for the pilgrimage.

The attack was timed for the Sabbath, according to local sources, when the Chassidim would not be able to respond effectively due to the strictures of traditional Jewish observance.

Police were called and responded, but locals reported they “stood by and watched” as the group, allegedly backed by leaders of the far-right Svoboda movement, “caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.”

Anti-Semitic Arson Attack Destroys Hatzolah Ambulance in Ukraine

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Jews in Ukraine are without one of their life-saving Hatzolah ambulances after an arsonist targeted the vehicle Sunday.

Preliminary findings by police after the overnight destruction pointed to an anti-Semitic attack that badly damaged the vehicle and its equipment.

The ambulance is well known in the city – as is the Jewish community it serves, according to police who spoke with media.

It’s not the first time anti-Semites have targeted Hatzolah Ukraine. One year ago, the head of Hatzolah emergency services in the country, Rabbi Hillel Cohen, was beaten and stabbed in the capital city of Kiev by two young men who spoke Russian. The two called him a “zid” — the derogatory Russian slur for “Jew” — and other gutteral words that were unclear. A young couple was also assaulted that same night on their way to the synagogue, a Friday night.

The burned ambulance has been key in accommodating the tens of thousands who visit Uman on their annual pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov for Rosh Hashana.

Rabbi Cohen and other officials have united with the heads of the Ukraine Jewish Committee and Euro-Asian Jewish Congress in speaking with local officials about the attack and its implications for the community.

The ambulance had served the Jewish community for a number of years; it was also used to escort visiting Jewish groups from the State of Israel and others from abroad. There is now some discussion about the possibility of replacing the vehicle with two new ambulances.

Uman Jews Fined $15K for Breslov Pilgrims’ Tent City

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The city of Uman has fined its Jewish community $15,000 for the erecting an unlicensed tent city to greet pilgrims to the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov for the Rosh HaShana holiday.

The sum was reached as a compromise with “quality of government” activists pushing to dismantle the tents, and city officials, by the Rabbi Nachman International Charitable Foundation.

“There were legal issues with a tent city for 2,500 people, which we operate on Rosh HaShana,” Rabbi Shimon Buskila of the World Breslov Center told JTA on Wednesday prior to the holiday.

Buskila oversees operations related to the annual pilgrimage and the permanent Jewish presence in Uman.

The Ukrainian city of Uman is still the focal point for the Breslov Chassidic group whose founder, Rebbe Nachman, died in 1810.

This year a record number of more than 30,000 of the Rebbe’s Chassidim from 25 different countries flocked to his tomb for the holiday despite the difficult situation in eastern Ukraine.

Boryspil International Airport was tasked with handling over 20,000 Hasidic Jews from all over the world, using 236 special flights, according to the International Business Times, which quoted airport statistics to reveal that most came from the U.S. and Israel.

Breslov Hassidim to Spend Rosh Hashana in Israel

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

A flight to Uman from Israel was canceled today, the eve of Rosh Hashana, due to technical difficulties encountered before takeoff.

Everyone on the flight was sent home to spend Rosh Hashana in Israel.

Many Breslov Hassidim prefer to spend Rosh Hashana at the graveside of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman, rather than with their families.

This year, one planeload will be spending the High Holidays with their families it the Holy Land.

We’re sure Rebbe Nachman would approve.

The Cult of Uman

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Disclaimer:My motivation behind this article is love for misguided Jews. I have no desire to needlessly upset people before the chag, but the troubling issue I raise in this article cannot be ignored. It represents the death of the Jewish mind, and every Jew who is drawn to this nonsense is another soul that has forsaken common sense and chochmah for a new age experience.

Craziness is contagious in the world of the non-thinker. Tragically, if someone in the Jewish world creates some new religious rite or practice, it doesn’t take long before the non-thinking masses get caught up in the hysteria. And then it spreads like a virus. Within a few years, it attains the status of an ancient tradition, particularly when there is money to be made.

In Israel we see this in the prevalence of miracle shrines such as Amuqah, or the infamous “wonder workers” of Jerusalem who allegedly manifest your “ayin horas” as bubbles in a pot, and then magically make them disappear. Not only does the latter ridiculous practice encroach on a myriad of prohibitions, it also takes the real but terribly distorted concept of the “evil eye,” ayin hora, (a philosophical concept relating to human psychology which chazal understand), and distorts it into a primitive spell that a shaman might cast onto a frightened native.

The modern cult of Uman is another prime example of this frightening phenomenon, where un-Jewish practices are given the status of mitzvah. I was initially going to avoid this topic, since it encroaches on the complicated halachic/hashkafic issue of visiting/praying at graves which I already addressed several weeks back in my article “Talking to the Dead.” I only reconsidered after being inundated on Facebook with more evidence of this troubling annual event. And the trip to Uman entails other problems as well.

Going To Graves

The basic issue regarding the phenomenon of Breslover chasidim traveling to Uman to pray at the grave of their deceased Rebbe relates to the obvious halachic question of the permissibility of praying at graves. As I noted before, this is a complex halachic issue that is the source of Jewish debate. What is not debated is whether praying to the dead is permitted. This act is a biblical prohibition related to necromancy. Without a doubt most of those who travel to Uman are actually praying to “Rebbe Nachman.” Some of them may actually try to convince you that they are praying there in his merit, or asking him to intercede, but their words betray their true intentions. Their motivations and expectations are such that it is clear that they have come to Uman to “speak” to Rebbe Nachman. Many of them will tell you this outright. They believe that he has the power (and indeed, that he has given his promise) to answer their prayers! These misguided Jews will tell you, that Rebbe Nachman informed his students prior to his death that he would answer the prayers of those who came to daven at his grave. “It’s all in Rav Nachman’s hands,” they explain.

On the web at breslov.com, one can find such views explaining the “custom”:

“Rebbe Nachman made a promise that no other Tzaddik in the whole of Jewish history has ever made. Taking two of his closest followers as witnesses, he said: “When my days are ended and I leave this world, I will intercede for anyone who comes to my grave, recites the Ten Psalms of the General Remedy – the Tikkun HaKlali (The 10 specific chapters in the book of Psalms are: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150. For further details, see Rabbi Nachman’s Tikkun, Breslov Research Institute, 1984.) – and gives some charity. No matter how serious his sins and transgressions, I will do everything in my power to save him and cleanse him. I will span the length and breadth of the Creation for him. By his payos I will pull him out of Hell!” (Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom #141). “It makes no difference what he did until that day, as long as he undertakes not to return to his foolish ways from now on” (Tzaddik #122). This is avodah zarah (idol worship)!

Chief Ukrainian Rabbi Calls for Removal of Provocative Cross

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

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.”

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chief-ukrainian-rabbi-calls-for-removal-of-provocative-cross/2013/08/22/

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