Holiday Pilgrimage for Israeli Rockers

Traveling North: Eyal Golan (above) and Kobi Peretz, along with 16,000 Hasidim, made the trek from Israel to Ukraine for Rosh Hashanah.
HOT TELEVISION
Traveling North: Eyal Golan (above) and Kobi Peretz, along with 16,000 Hasidim, made the trek from Israel to Ukraine for Rosh Hashanah.

By Nathan Burstein

Published September 23, 2009, issue of October 02, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A small group of Israel’s top entertainers returned home after Rosh Hashanah from a traditional holiday pilgrimage — to Ukraine.

Top-selling musicians, including Eyal Golan, Lior Narkis and Kobi Peretz, arrived back in Israel on September 21 after celebrating the New Year in Uman, a city in central Ukraine that has become a major destination for Hasidim around the world at the turn of each Jewish year. Home to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov and a key figure in the revival of Hasidism two centuries ago, the city has become a mass pilgrimage site since the fall of the Soviet Union — and now evidently plays host to secular celebrities alongside tens of thousands of Hasidic visitors.

First reported on Israel’s Channel 2 News Web site, the entertainers took their trips to Uman separately, with the exception of Golan, who was joined by TV comedian Eli Yatzpan. Like their more religious counterparts, the performers brought their own, presumably kosher, food but stayed in private “villas” in the area.

Long considered a holy site for Rosh Hashanah observance by Breslov Hasidim, Uman’s most famous grave was off-limits during communist rule, though a limited number of clandestine visits continued to take place. The breakup of the Soviet Union has led to a dramatic rise in Rosh Hashanah visits to the site, attracting an estimated 16,000 Israeli Hasidim, who arrived on dozens of flights chartered directly from Tel Aviv.

The visit by the tattooed Golan and his counterparts suggests the continuing evolution of Uman’s role in Israeli religious practice. Beyond their celebrity status, the entertainers stood out from most of their fellow travelers because of their family backgrounds, rooted in such places as Yemen and Iraq rather than in Eastern Europe.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.