Jan 21, 2014

Uman entry fee turns Rebbe Nachman's grave into Uman Land

Will Breslav hassidim stay home next Rosh Hashana instead of travelling to Uman? The Ukranian parliament is weighing a proposal that might make it prohibitively costly to visit Rebbe Nachmans grave. The proposal is to charge an entrance fee of $100 per day for entry.

Entry would be granted to anybody bearing a special magnetic card. the card would be sold at only select locations by the government. The card would contain all the details of the bearer of the card - name, passport number, age, gender, date of entry to Ukraine, , health insurance, place of residence,

The claim behind the proposal is that the entrance fee would pay for the services required to keep it open - sanitation, health and emergency services.

Hassidim, obviously, are opposed to the idea and say they are just trying to fleece the Jews for money. They say the government invests nothing in the site of Rebbe Nachmans grave and there is no justification in charging this fee. Some say that it is not just the government behind this but some hassidim as well who are looking to profit and strengthen their own ties with the Ukranian government.
Sources: Bechadrei and INN

At $100 per person per day, with about 25,000 people visiting the grave on Rosh Hashana alone, the government will rake in an estimated $2.5 million per day. With the vast majority of hassidim spending at least 5-7 days in Uman, that could translate to at least $12.5 million and probably more.Then add to that the visits all year round, and this suddenly becomes the Ukranian version of Disney Land - maybe we will call Rebbe Nachman's grave "Uman Land"..

Will hassidim stop going to Uman? Obviously this will make the trip so much more expensive. I think most hassidim will still go. Those who can afford it, will pay what's necessary, and those who cannot but go anyway, will just collect or borrow more for the trip.

The good that might come of this, if it is not thwarted, is that it might spur advancement of the idea of moving Rebbe Nachman's grave to Israel. The movement to do so might gain some more supporters because of this.

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