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Russia bombs Ukrainian city of Uman, a pilgrimage site for Haredi Jews

The city is home to the gravesite for Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, which in the past has attracted thousands of visitors every Rosh Hashanah

Russian missiles have struck a Ukrainian city that is home to a pilgrimage site for Haredi Jews, according to reports.

On Friday, Reuters reported that at least 10 people died in an apartment building fire in Uman after it was struck by a missile. Among the victims were at least two children. 

The Ukrainian Defense Department put the death toll at 20 and said that 21 missiles and two drones were shot down by Ukrainian air defenders. 

Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Michael Brodsky, said in a statement posted to Twitter that his country shares “the pain of the loss of innocent lives” and stands with Ukraine. 

Brodsky noted that Uman “holds special religious and cultural meaning for Jews around the world.”

In the past, thousands of Haredi Jews have made the journey to Uman during Rosh Hashanah to pay homage to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, who is buried there. The tradition dates back to 1811 and now largely attracts Haredi Jews living in Israel. Nachman of Breslov, known for creative parables, became the namesake of a movement of Hasidism (Breslov Hasidism) that stresses joy through faith and prayer. 

According to reports, firefighters were on the scene for hours and rescue workers had to sort through piles of rubble as they searched for survivors. 

One witness said the building’s windows were blown out “and then came the explosion. Everything flew out.”

Uman was just one of several cities targeted by Russian cruise missiles. Missiles also struck in Dnipro, located in southeastern Ukraine, killing at least two people. On Twitter, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy used the attack to call for allies to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and to apply sanctions against Russia. 

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