Pilgrims leave Uman amid reports of heavy property damage

Thousands of Jewish pilgrims left Ukraine after a weeklong stay in Uman that resulted in a fire, power shortages, a sewage flood and several arrests.

In one incident, three Israeli officers sent to Uman to help police the estimated 26,000 Jewish pilgrims who congregate every year ahead of the Jewish New Year near the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Breslov Hassidic movement, reportedly scuffled with locals while off duty.

According to Israel’s Channel 10, one of the officers sustained minor injuries.

Pilgrims from Israel started a fire inside their rented apartment after they had an indoor barbecue, according to a firefighter who was stationed in Uman as part of a special deployment.

In an apartment building block on Pushkin Street, pilgrims caused the sewage system to overflow and flood the municipality’s social services center, according to Ukrainian media. The visitors flushed diapers and hygienic pads down the toilet, the reports said.

A Jewish visitor was arrested after Ukrainian police spotted him smoking marijuana, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Several of his friends confronted officers, but the encounter did not turn violent, according to the news website Unian.net.

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 4, Ukrainian police divers rescued a Jewish pilgrim who fell into a flooded quarry.

The record for Jewish pilgrimage was set in 2011, when Uman saw 26,000 arrivals, but the Russian Jewish Congress said in a statement that this year’s attendance was lower than in previous years. — jta