Israeli man missing in Ukraine following holiday pilgrimage


JERUSALEM (JTA) —  An Israeli man went missing in Ukraine, where he was traveling to the city of Uman as part of an annual Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to the grave of a founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.

Amir Ohana, 28, has not been seen since Tuesday, when, according to reports, his family watched him going into the forests near Uman to meditate alone.

Ohana, the father of three, reportedly has a serious medical condition. Because of his illness, he was not able to purchase insurance for the trip, and therefore a search team has not been procured.

Local authorities are searching the forest and the nearby river. Israeli police officers and representatives of the ZAKA rescue and recovery organization have arrived on site to search as well, according to reports.

“Amir, my love, my heart goes out to you in prayer. Return to me,” his wife, Meital Tohar, wrote in a Facebook post. “Anyone who sees this message, pray for my righteous husband. Have mercy on me, without him I have no life!!! Pray friends, whoever can.”

Since the fall of communism, Uman has seen the arrival of thousands of pilgrims on the Jewish New Year who come to visit the gravesite of the Breslover movement’s founder, Rabbi Nachman.

The pilgrimage has created friction between the predominantly Israeli arrivals and locals, many of whom resent the cordoning off by police of neighborhoods for the pilgrims. Prior to Rosh Hashanah, Ukrainian nationalists destroyed a tent city erected by Hasidic Jews for the pilgrims.

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