1,000 Jewish Pilgrims Turned Back from Ukrainian Border Due to Coronavirus

Header image shows the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the spot the pilgrims were trying to reach. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: Lord Mountbatten / Public domain)

At least 1,000 Hasidic Jews have turned back to Israel after being stuck between the border of Ukraine and Belarus. They camped out by the border for several days, hoping the Ukrainian authorities would relent and let them in. Ukraine, however, sent extra border police to make sure no one crossed.

Each year, Hasidic Jewish pilgrims visit the Ukrainian grave of a well-known Rabbi that revived Hasidic Judaism in the late 1700s, Nachman of Breslov. Due to differing COVID-19 restrictions, Belarus let them through, but Ukraine did not. Israel also asked that pilgrims not be allowed into Ukraine, concerned they could catch and spread COVID-19.

Jewish History in Ukraine

Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association says, “Ukraine is not one of the first countries that you would consider as being the home of a large Jewish population, but it’s actually home to the third-largest Jewish population in Europe, and the fifth-largest in the world. There’s a history in Ukraine that goes back all the way to the original beginnings of the Kievan Rus in the 11th century. You saw a migration of Jews who were involved in various settlements. At one point, there was quite a large population.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Kevin Zeller

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray the Ukrainian churches SGA supports will have a fruitful ministry to Jewish communities in Ukraine.