According to local memory, thousands of Jewish men, women and children were executed by Nazi soldiers at the edge of a reservoir in Uman, a village in Ukraine, during the Holocaust.
More than six decades later, Jews from around the world (nearly all of them men) are returning Jewish life to Uman.
For the last 20 years, chasidic Jews and other Orthodox Jews from Israel, the United States and other countries have congregated for Rosh HaShanah in Uman, where Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, an early chasidic leader, is buried. The rabbi died there in 1810.
Coming on chartered flights, they set up tents that serve kosher meals to the pilgrims, stay in modest hotel rooms, and pray at the rabbi’s grave.This year a record 20,000 came.
At dusk on the second day of Rosh HaShanah, they did tashlich, reciting Psalms and symbolically casting off their sins, at the reservoir. Dressed in their traditional kittel robes, they formed a white sea at water’s edge.
As part of "the rebbe’s Rosh HaShanah," the visitors danced in the village, whose walls were peppered with Hebrew posters.
"This," said Borys Varminshteyn, a Jew who lives near Uman, "is a chance to touch the living faith of our fathers."