Despite travel warnings, Hasidic Jews flocked to Ukraine.

Thousands of Hasidic Jews from Israel and other countries are making their way to Uman, a city in central Ukraine, for the traditional pilgrimage to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, despite stern warnings records of Israeli government travel and pleas from Ukrainian officials who asked them to stay away because of the war.

Fewer people are expected to make the journey than in a typical year, when tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews – mostly men but also have families – arrive in Uman to mark the new year, which begins at sundown on Sunday, with a visit to the burial site of a revered 18th-century rabbi, Nachman of Breslav. But about 4,000 pilgrims have come from Israel alone, and the number could rise to 5,000 or more, according to Alon Lavi, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry.

Those numbers are just estimates, Lavi said, adding that it is difficult to pin down an exact number because there are no direct flights to Ukraine from Israel and pilgrims are still crossing the Ukrainian border from other countries. neighboring countries such as Poland, Romania and Moldova. .

Pilgrims who have been to Uman told Israeli media that they have barely felt the effects of the war there, apart from stricter security checks at checkpoints and at the entrance to the teacher’s mausoleum. Jewish doctor. Israeli and Ukrainian officials have warned that Russian missiles have been fired into the area in recent weeks.

Central Ukraine generally does not face the same dangers as the frontline cities in the east, but it is not as safe as the west either. Last week, millions of gallons of water flooded from a dam in the city of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine after the Russian shelling. And in July, Russian cruise missiles hit a shopping mall, dance studio and wedding hall in the city of Vinnytsia – just 100 miles from Uman – kills at least 23 civilians.

“Avoid pilgrimages,” the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel urged in a Facebook post this month. “Continuous Russian attacks pose real danger to your life!” In an earlier warning, issued on September 6, Embassy urges pilgrims to pray that “peace will return to Ukraine and blessed pilgrimage will be renewed” instead of visiting Uman.

“As the echoes of the explosions of the Russian enemy in Ukraine do not stop,” the warning said, “we must take care of ourselves.”

A Russian missile attack killed one Ukrainian civilian, injured several others and caused widespread damage near Uman a few weeks ago, the Israeli government warning said. It also recommended that Israeli nationals in Ukraine leave immediately, saying the volatile security situation poses “a real and immediate danger to life”.

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