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Aug 30, 2020

are the Uman pilgrims as significant to Ukraine as we think?

The old joke goes that Yankel seems Shmulik reading an anti semitic neo-nazi newspaper. he asks Shmuli, why are you reading that anti-semitic rag? Shmulik says I used to read the jewish papers and it was always very depressing - Moishi died and left yesomim who don't have money to get married, this one went bankrupt, the other yid went to jail.. when I read the anti-semitic paper it says the Jews control the world, we are all rich, run the banks, control the weather - it is far more pleasant and encouraging to read!

We used to hear about how the Breslavers spend so much money in Uman, the Ukranians love the Jews coming. The Ukranians would never let anyone move Rebbe Nachman's grave to Israel (as has been discussed as a possibility many times) because it would mean giving up all that money from the Jews coming to Uman.  

The Ikranians have so much to lose by shutting its borders now - so much of that Breslav and tourist money from the Rosh Hashana pilgrims (many non-Breslavers go as well in regular years) and they are just so easily giving up all that money that only happens in this magnitude once a year?

Or maybe it isn't as much money as we thought and were led to believe? Maybe most of the money is spent between the Jews themselves, and only a little bit spent among the Ukranian providers and some taxes. Maybe it isn't a big deal for them to give up all that tourist revenue because maybe there isnt as much as we've been led to believe over the years. Maybe we are, once again, over-estimating our power and influence, similar to how we over-estimate our voting bloc power in many places around the world and other levels of our influence and power (which is really the opposite of the joke I opened with)...

I don't know the answer to the question I am posing, but it seems strange that once a year they bring in all this money from the tens of thousands of Jewish pilgrims and they are willing to give it all up so easily. 

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  1. There's also the possibility that the Ukrainian government is doing what the Israeli government should be doing - weighing the short-term cash hit against the health of the residents. The Israeli government has been doing things as wrongly as possible - lurching from one nonsensical decision to another, depending on where the greatest political pressure is coming from at the moment.

  2. I am not quite as sure as you. they werent in such a rush to close it off or to make a decision until Israel put some pressure on them...

  3. I go to Uman every year. The home owners who rent out their properties to hundreds of visitors make a year's salary in Ukraine in the span of 4-5 days. They are taking a huge hit.

    1. maybe. is it possible that in recent years that has decreased? havent Jews bought some of the properties and opened hotels for the uman-goers?


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