Breslov hasidim are reportedly in an uproar after a new bill was proposed in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday that if passed would see visitors to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman charged $100 each for a day's entrance to the tomb.
Ukraine May Charge Jews $100 Each To Visit Grave Of Rabbi Nachman Of Breslov
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Breslov hasidim are reportedly in an uproar after a new bill was proposed in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday that if passed would see visitors to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman charged $100 each for a day's entrance to the tomb, Arutz Sheva reported based on a report in the Zionist Orthodox news website kipa.
The bill’s backers say the fee will fund health and emergency services along with sanitation.
Hasidim who live in Uman all year reportedly say the bill’s intent is to fleece the visiting pilgrims and is not justified. They also note the local government does not do anything to improve or maintain the gravesite.
“The bill “is a breach of the fundamental laws of human rights and freedom,” Shimon Buskila, who heads the World Breslov Center in Uman, reportedly declared, vowing to fight it.
Tens of thousands of hasidim visit the grave every Rosh Hashana and, while they bring much needed revenue to the town, they also bring extreme amounts of litter and many other public sanitation issues, and have repeatedly done things, sometimes intentional and sometimes not, to inflame local Christians. There have also been street fights between hasidim and local Christians – some initiated by drunk hasidim – and at least one hasid stabbed a local Christian.
On the other hand, local Ukrainians nationalists have protested the hasidim and last year someone – no one knows who – erected a giant cross close enough to the gravesite to disturb hasidim. Hasidim responded by defacing it with anti-Christian Hebrew graffiti. In 2010, a 19-year-old Israeli pilgrim was stabbed to death near the grave. Last year, another hasid was savagely beaten there, apparently in response to the defacing of the cross, which was reportedly erected to honor the 1,025th anniversary of the mass conversion to Christianity of the medieval Kingdom of Kievan Rus.