Ukrainian authorities are delaying the repatriation of the body of 19-year-old Eliyah Eli, who drowned last week in Uman, right before the Tashlich prayer.
Eli's funeral was scheduled to be held Sunday afternoon, but the Ukrainian authorities did not release the documents necessary in order to fly the body back to Israel.
His last photo. Eliyah Eli in Uman
Representatives of Hevra Kaddisha (Jewish burial society) in the Ukraine handled the body, but was unable to complete the arrangements because most governmental offices in the eastern European country were closed on Sunday.
"This adds to our pain, we don't want to delay the burial," said Eli's cousin in a conversation with Ynet.
(Photo: Coutesy of Behadrei Hadarim)
"Two cousins stayed with Eliyah's body, and we are pleading with the Foreign Ministry to step in. We have suffered enough grief; help us end this difficult situation so we can move on," he said.
The tragic accident occurred on Thursday, when Eliyah and his brothers bathed in a deep-water reservoir before the Tashlich prayer. Shortly after entering the water, Eliyah disappeared from his brothers' sight. Only after long moments, his body was pulled out of the water – but it was too late and he was pronounced dead on the scene.
"We didn’t know about his death," Eliyah's cousin recalled. "Only after Shabbat we received the bitter news; how can we start the New Year like this?" he lamented.
Eliyah, a yeshiva student, was described by his relatives as "a righteous boy, who tried to make a difference and draw people closer to the Torah despite his young age."
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