Ukraine, Uman, September 24, 2014
A Jewish pilgrim walks along Pushkin street in the Ukrainian city of Uman. The Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage attracts Jews from all strata of society, including dedicated party-goers. With marijuana and alcohol in abundance, street parties with techno music continue until late at night. Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Hasidic Breslov movement, taught his followers to vanquish sadness through private prayer and celebration. On his deathbed in 1810, he asked that Jews visit his grave annually to mark Rosh Hashanah. After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, what had been a trickle of pilgrims exploded into tens of thousands. The grave is off limits to women and non-Jews during Rosh Hashanah, when it is constantly thronged by pilgrims, many come from Israel but also from the US, France, the UK and other countries. This Rosh Hashanah marks the year 5775.
Photo: Joel van Houdt