Israeli journalist Kalman Libeskind on Monday spoke out against the mass travel to Uman, Ukraine, for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), saying that spiritual uplifting can be had in Israel as well.
Many Jews, especially Breslov hasidim, travel to Uman for Rosh Hashanah, to spend the holiday at the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Those who make the pilgrimage say the experience is uplifting and has a positive impact on their year.
"I think that anyone who needs spiritual ecstasy and does it outside of the Land of Israel needs to work on himself," Libeskind said during a radio show on Reshet Bet Radio. "At the end of the day, there is holiness here - and the heart of the holiness is in the Land of Israel, so why are you traveling to Ukraine?"
When asked by his partner on the show, Asaf Liberman, where the problem is in "being a Jew in the Land of Israel throughout the entire year, and once a year traveling to Uman," Libeskind responded: "It's Jewish to be here the entire time - it's not Jewish to travel to Ukraine."
"And [to travel] for Rosh Hashanah?! I can't manage to connect to this thing. There are 40,000 who connect to it? That's great, I don't connect to it."