KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) –A rabbi has asked Ukrainian law enforcement not to place restrictions on Uman residents during pilgrim’s visits to the grave of Rabbi Nachman.
Rabbi Daniel Dayan of the Rabbi Nachman Charitable Foundation told the UNIAN Ukrainian news agency that police should not violate the rights of residents of Uman while guarding Bratslaver Chasidim pilgrims during High Holidays celebrations in the city.
Police placed barriers near the grave site of Rabbi Nachman during the Bratslaver’s pilgrimage to Uman this year to mark the High Holidays, organizing access control for local residents, which excluded women. This restriction lead to protests by women’s organization.
The Femen Women’s Movement in Ukraine in an open letter last week addressed to the Ukrainian Secret Service, asked the service to allow women free access to the Pushkinsky district of Uman, where the grave site is located, emphasizing that “pilgrims often show their total neglect of local traditions.”
More than 20,000 Chasidim from around the world made the pilgrimage this year to Uman in central Ukraine, the burial place of Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Bratslav Chasidic movement. Some 9,000 to 12,000 Bratslavers have come to Uman each year since the annual pilgrimage to Ukraine was revived in 1988, after the Soviet Union loosened restrictions on religious practice.