Breslov Chasidim could lose control of the land surrounding their founder’s grave in Ukraine.
At issue is a debt owed to a local businessman in Uman who is a member of the Ukranian parliament. Members of the Breslov community have threatened to protest and disrupt next week’s visit to Israel by President Victor Yuschenko if the issue is not resolved..
Four years ago, a Breslov foundation that oversees community facilities in Uman hired a company to reconstruct and expand the synagogue near the grave of the dynasty’s founder, Reb Nachman. A contract dispute broke out between the company, owned by Pyotr Kuzmenko, who sued the foundation and had a lien issued on the synagogue and grave site.
The synagogue will be sold to cover the lien.
Some 150,000 Jews visit Reb Nachman’s grave annually. Nearly 30,000 pilgrims from around the world visited at Rosh Hashanah this year.
Breslov leaders said they want to stop the lawsuit and reconstruct the synagogue to satisfy the growing number of pilgrims.
“We are ready to complete the reconstruction of the synagogue,” said Rabbi Nasan Maimon, president of the Rabbi Nachman International Charitable Foundation. “The Ukrainian government should make a positive step to correct the situation.”
A senior adviser to Yuschenko told JTA that the administration will investigate the matter.