Jewish man, 23, dies on Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage to Uman, Ukraine

(JTA) — A 23-year-old man died during the annual pilgrimage to Uman, a Ukrainian city where tens of thousands of Jews gather on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The man died of heart failure caused by medical complications, according to a statement Tuesday by the United Hatzalah emergency services group, which is based in Israel but runs a clinic in Uman during the holiday.

Of the 34,000 people estimated to have participated in the pilgrimage this year, about 2,700 people were treated by Hatzalah for various issues, ranging from mild headaches to injuries sustained while walking the city’s pothole-filled streets.

The clinic, which Hatzalah runs with the cooperation of other groups, will extend its activities until Yom Kippur next week, the statement said. It has a staff of 20 and works 24 hours a day.

As in previous years, Israeli police sent officers to Uman for the duration of the holiday to help local authorities maintain order.

The visitors come to Uman to be near what many believe is the burial site of Rabbi Nachman, an 18th-century luminary whose supposed gravesite is the focal point of the celebration.

Authorities in Ukraine have improved access to Uman in recent years, and plans are underway for reopening an unused military airport near the city for direct flights.

Last year, a record 40,000 pilgrims made the trek to Uman.

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