[Photos below.] The pre-Rosh Hashanah wave of visitors to the town of Uman in Ukraine peaked on Monday as around 9,000 boarded 50 flights from Ben-Gurion International Airport. Another 5,500 people will travel to Ukraine today on 28 flights to visit the kever of Rav Nachman of Breslov. Overall, some 18,000 Breslover chassidim and others will travel to spend Rosh Hashanah in Uman.
It is 200 years since the petirah of Rav Nachman.
“We smile all the way to Uman,” was written in a leaflet distributed in Bnei Brak. It was meant to encourage people to cover their eyes with scarves against “forbidden sights.”
“Support for flights without movies” is the name of a small group that several years ago encouraged frum travelers not to take regular flights unless they had cardboard that could cover the screens on the airplane seats in front of them.
This year the idea caught on that immodest sights may also be a threat outside the airplane – in the airport terminal, for example. So people are being encouraged to bring scarves along.
“In any cloth shop, ask for a thin lycra cloth 70 cm wide (blue, brown or black ) costing about 20 NIS,” reads one instruction. “It needs to be about 1.5 meters long … which is necessary so it will sit well and not flow in the wind.”
The leaflet notes that even if people laugh at someone wearing the scarf on his face, those covering their eyes “will be rewarded a thousand fold.”
In a telephone interview from Uman, one visitor named Avinoam added: “It may sound ridiculous to you, but it has been more successful than expected. I recommend that you try it.”
See below for photos of visitors arriving in Uman: