The Ukrainian government has not given permission for a traditional pilgrimage by thousands of Hasidim to the Ukrainian town of Uman to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
"According to the Secretariat of Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers, the Government of Ukraine had not made any decision as of August 6 to allow five thousand people to make a pilgrimage to Uman to celebrate Rosh Hashanah [the Jewish New Year]," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine said in a comment for Deutsche Welle's Ukrainian Service.
The ministry added that it continued consultations with the relevant Ukrainian central executive agencies and the Israeli side in order to minimize the number of pilgrims given the quarantine restrictions and the difficult epidemic situation in Ukraine, Israel, and the world in general.
The Rabbi announces permission for 5,000 Hasidim members
Earlier, Israeli media reported that Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich said the Ukrainian government had allowed at least 5,000 people to attend the annual pilgrimage to Uman. That number could be increased to 8,000, but pilgrims will have to wear masks in crowded places and refrain from gathering more than 30 people, the rabbi added.
After that, the Ministry of Health of Israel called on the Ukrainian authorities to take measures to prevent mass gatherings in Uman, so as not to promote the spread of the coronavirus. "Our professional position is that the event should not be allowed because of the gathering of 30,000 people. The only way to stop this is for the Ukrainian authorities to take appropriate measures," Director of the International Relations Division in the Ministry of Health Asher Shalmon said.
In 2019, more than 30,000 pilgrims came to Uman to celebrate the 5780th Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). This year, Rosh Hashanah will begin on September 18.