Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Jews In Ukraine Seek Flu Vaccines From Israel After Rabbi’s Death

(JTA) — An Israeli rabbi living in the Ukrainian city of Uman died of an infectious flu virus, raising fears that other members of his community there may also be infected.

Rabbi Israel Pinto, the owner of Uman’s kosher Orot hotel, died Wednesday in Israel, where he was flown after being hospitalized with acute pneumonia in Uman and later Odessa, the haredi news site Ch10 reported Thursday.

Some 80 Jewish families, most of them Israeli, live in Uman. Followers of the Breslov Hassidic movement, they moved into the impoverished central Ukrainian city because it is believed to hold the burial site of Rabbi Nachman, an 18th-century luminary who founded their religious stream. Each year, tens of thousands of Jews come to the grave in Uman for Rosh Hashanah.

“The situation is very chaotic now, the entire community is in panic,” Rabbi Ya’akov Djan, an Uman-based rabbi affiliated with the Breslov Hassidic movement, wrote following Pinto’s death to Israel’s health ministry. He requested Israel send urgently 300 flu vaccines to Ukraine for the Uman community.

Djan later penned a second letter to members of the community, downplaying the risk.

“It is rash and incorrect to say that the ‘swine flu’ is on the loose on out streets,” he wrote. “Each year the same nonsense is revisited, scaring those who come to Uman and those who leave it. With due respect to community leaders, I wish to allay your concerns. We favor the vaccine but the situation is not that frightening.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.