Ukrainian Roots Radio


Ukrainian Jewish Heritage: Rosh Hashana 2022 and the Uman pilgrimage

In this episode of Ukrainian Jewish Heritage the focus is on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

Rosh Hashana is one of the most important religious holidays for Jews. It is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days, as specified by Leviticus 23:23–25. These Ten Days of Repentance (or Atonement) end with Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashana is a time for continuous introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and making plans to do better in the new year… to do Teshuvah – returning to the paths of the Almighty.

The date for Rosh Hashanah changes each year as the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar year. Rosh Hashanah for the Hebrew Year 5783 begins on the Gregorian calendar at sundown on Sunday, September 25 2022 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, September 27 2022.

Every Rosh Hashana, there is a major pilgrimage to Uman – a city in central Ukraine. Jews from around the world travel to Uman to pray at the burial site of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov who lived from 1772 until 1810.

The Uman pilgrimage dates back to 1811. It it attracted hundreds of Hasidic Jews annually from Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Poland until the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution sealed the border.

In the following decades until the fall of communism, going on the pilgrimage was risky and at times deadly. However, it managed to survive this dangerous time and grew exponentially after communism collapsed. Since 2020, however, attending the pilgrimage once again became dangerous and discouraged by authorities.

Full transcript here.

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