Ukraine, Israel urge Hasidic Jews to cancel pilgrimage due to coronavirus

KYIV (Reuters) – The Ukrainian and Israeli governments issued a joint statement on Tuesday asking Israeli Hasidic Jews to cancel their annual pilgrimage to the central Ukrainian town of Uman this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews descend on Uman every Jewish New Year to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who revived the Hasidic movement and died in 1810.

This year, Jewish New Year celebrations run from Sept 18-20.

“Guided by the recommendations and warnings of the Ministries of Health of Ukraine and Israel, we urge all pilgrims who plan to take part in the current festive events on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah in Ukraine to refrain from visiting the city of Uman due to the threatening epidemic situation,” the governments said in the statement.

It was published on the site of Ukraine’s government and on the Facebook page of the Israeli embassy in Kyiv.

Ukraine has registered 94,436 coronavirus cases and 2,116 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March.

Some regions have had to reimpose some restrictions such as the mandatory wearing of masks due to a jump in the daily number of new cases to above 1,500 last week.

Ukraine’s health ministry reported 1,616 new cases on Tuesday.

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