Uman, Ukraine. Living next to rabbi's grave expensive
Photo: Yisrael Bardugo
Adi Ran. Enough is enough
Photo: Doron Edut

Hasidim plan 'tent protest' in Uman

Breslov rock star initiates protest against high cost of pilgrimage to Rabbi Nachman's grave in Ukraine

From Rothschild Blvd. to Pushkina St.: Musician Adi Ran is initiating a new "protest tent" among his fellow Breslov Hasidim, following the exaggerated prices of the pilgrimage to Rabbi Nachman's grave in Uman, Ukraine ahead of the Jewish New Year.


Ran is trying to evoke a wide-scale protest movement, whose members will set up tents near the gravesite instead of paying locals hundreds of dollars for a bed.


"This year a protest tent in Uman," the Breslov rock star wrote on his Facebook page. "Enough, stop the exploitation. Bring tents, it will be fun at night – not hot like on Rothschild Boulevard."


Since it was written on Wednesday afternoon, Ran's status has received dozens of "likes" and responses. Nehemiah Letman wrote, "We need some kind of protest; why should we pay some $1,000 for a ticket and a place to sleep?"


A reader named Iris ridiculed the prices, writing: "Who pays $1,000 for a ticket? My husband paid $350 for a ticket, another $10 for a bed and NIS 180 (about $48) for food."


Adi Ran didn't buy it: "According to these prices, Iris, your husband must be traveling to Petah Tikva."


Binyamin Mahlev, a Breslov Hasid, told Ynet that a "hospital bed" was being rented out in apartments close to Rabbi Nachman's grave for more than $500 a night – "and each room has 10 of those."


In farther places the price drops, but even those willing to take a one-hour walk to the gravesite during the holiday will be forced to part with at least $100.


"Some 20,000 people arrived in Uman last year, and even then there were those who wouldn't pay and set up tents instead," he says. "This year travel to Ukraine is visa-free and some communities are subsidizing the flights, so at least 30,000 people are expected."

According to Mahlev, the accommodation prices in Uman increase every year, with locals taking advantage of the high demand which won't stop growing.


Waiting for donor

Adi Ran told the "Haredi Voice" telephone news line, "I live on Rothschild and I've seen this protest grow before my eyes… The first thing that crossed my mind was the tents in Uman. I think it's slightly exaggerated, the exploitation of people who will arrive in any case, both with flights and lodging."


Ran couldn't say who the protest would be directed at, but he called on politicians and philanthropists who worked to reduce the prices of plane tickets to Ukraine or subsidize them – to handle the situation.


"Every time a philanthropist, someone who thank God has money, jumps up and decides that he wants to do something," he said. "Awareness to the housing situation will make them solve this too. We need people with initiative."



פרסום ראשון: 09.25.11, 13:43
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