The body of Eli Eliyah, the young Israeli man who died in Uman, Ukraine, over Rosh Hashanah, was flown from Kiev to Israel on Sunday evening. Once the body arrives in Israel it will be brought to burial.
There had been a delay in arranging to fly the body to Israel since government offices in the Ukraine are closed on Sunday.
Eliyah was killed when he was swept away by a current, as a group of men belonging to the Breslov Chassidic sect performed the “tashlich” ritual, in which Jews stand near a body of water and symbolically cast their sins into the water as part of the period of atonement leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
Eliyah immersed himself completely in the river waters as if at a ritual bath. When he did not resurface, his companions made many efforts to retrieve him, but were unsuccessful.
Earlier on Sunday, ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, told Arutz Sheva about the complicated search for Eliyah.
“The water was really cold and muddy but the volunteers kept trying to locate him,” he said. “At the same time we contacted the local Home Front Command in Kiev and asked them to send divers to help us with the search. After an hour of searching, one of the volunteers managed to locate the young man and pull him out.”
Meshi-Zahav added that Some of ZAKA’s medical staff who were in Uman were called to the scene and began resuscitation efforts but after half an hour pronounced Eliyah dead.
“This is a very complex case,” he said. “While our volunteers were making sure that there was proper respect for the body of the deceased, we were working with local government to prevent autopsy and delays in flying the body to Israel. Not only was it a Sunday, it was also a local holiday and we had to get nine signatures to release the deceased’s body.”
Hundreds took part in the funeral procession on Sunday evening in Uman and accompanied the coffin to the airport in Kiev.
Photos below by Yehuda Hasson, News 24.