“They Held Us Like Hostages” – Breslover Chassidim Detained In Ukraine


The saga of Bresolover chassidim traveling to Uman ahead of Rosh Hashanah reached a crisis point in the past couple of days, with chassidim arriving in the airport in Odessa being refused entry into the country.

Those at the scene told B’Chadrei Chareidim that chassidim are being required to sign forms forcing them to return to Israel. Meanwhile, many chassidim were stuck for hours at the airport, in Odessa as well as Kiev, without food or drink, with some even reportedly falling ill and requiring medical attention.

“The want us to sign forms that we agree that they’ll return us today,” one Bresolver told Kan 11. “They’re holding us like hostages.”

“We’re shocked and horrified that families who wanted to try to reach Uman before August 29, when they’re closing the Ukrainian skies, bought tickets at great expense, arrived at Kiev, and were then detained for the sin of being chassidim,” another chassid told B’Chadrei. “They’re telling them now that they’re returning them tomorrow [erev Shabbos] at 5 p.m. to Israel.”

In a video of the scene, a man is heard talking to a doctor who arrived the scene, directing her to a chassid who fainted and was lying on the floor of the airport.

Another video shows the secular passengers being allowed to enter the country while all the visibly Jewish religious passengers have been pulled from the line. Anyone who even mentioned the word Uman was sent to the side.

A woman whose husband and children flew to Ukraine cried to B’Chadrei: “If they don’t agree to return to Israel, they’ll receive a black visa [banning them from the country] for their entire lives. What did they do wrong? Thousands of chassidim bought tickets at ridiculously high prices just to reach Uman before Rosh Hashanah. And now they’re returning them to Israel through chillul Shabbos.”

Later on Thursday evening, the efforts of Rabbi Mayer Stambler, head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine, who spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, averted the crisis. The president agreed that all Jews stranded at the airport can enter the country and all Jews that arrive in Ukraine until midnight [when the ban on foreign nationals will go into effect] will be allowed to enter, subject to a negative coronavirus test.

Earlier on Thursday, hundreds of chassidim flocked to Ben-Gurion Airport, desperate to catch a flight before the deadline. Ukraine International Airlines added additional flights to Kiev and Odessa to fly in the many waiting Breslovers into Ukraine before midnight.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I agree with the ukrainians; they have a legitimate fear that a mass event like rosh hashanah will bring the spread of covid. They have no obligation to let anyone into their homes. The chassidim were warned and told that the govt. will try to do anything they can to stop them – and they did. The Israeli govt cannot prevent their leaving – they are not in jail – but it can tell the ukrainians to stop them from entering, and they did.

  2. We were warned for decades and decades by the Tzadikkim to stay away from these people because they are a danger to Klal Yisrael. No group of Chasidim or any other Jews were violently chased out of town by their fellow Jews like this group. Their sefarim and shechita were banned and nobody would deal with them and all for good reason. Their belief in ‘Rabenu” as the only Tzadik for all of time, and therefore there no other Rebbes, and that the whole world will be converted to their belief is a part of a completely different religion. Unfortunately this is just the beginning for these people. Their being detained is a badge of honor in their world. It shows they are the true believers in Rabbenu. Hashem Yerachem !

  3. Complete morons for leaving Israel in the first place, and then for trying to go during the pandemic when they were told not to. Just like the weddings, they think the rules don’t apply to them.

  4. Hmm. What part of “people are banned from entering UMAN THIS YEAR” did they not understand?

    And then they whine and complain that they are being treated like prisoners? Hmmm. The Ukrainian Government is protecting its citizens and country..

  5. where does everyone get all the money for these expensive tickets and the cost to stay there for three weeks!
    I mean one guy in the pictures has to wear socks with holes in them to afford these tickets!

  6. CH..
    Hmm..Of course Trump is always part of the problem, even though there is zero relevancy to the above..

    Asides that retaining illegals was part of the Obama admin policy.
    These are ppl entering by legal means into Ukraine..

  7. As all the posters above have noted, its hard to feel any empathy for these self-centered individuals who defied both the governments of EY and Ukraine and public health experts who said to stay home. I’m surprised that the authorities at Ben Gurion allowed these flights to depart after the Virus Czar insisted there would be no travel. Hopefully, those who lost lots of money on airfares they will not be allowed to use will think better next year and stay home with their families.

  8. “Don’t Kill” is 1 of שבע מצוות בני נח, so if the Ukrainians reasonably believe that overcrowding in Uman shall lead to widespread uptick in Corona which invariably shall include some deaths, they are are acting correctly in closing their border in order to thwart this mass spread of Corona illness & death.

  9. To the fellow who calls himself the Truth
    He says Breslev chassidim were chased away by other Jews. If you want to say that other chassidim chased them away as you mentioned,did not the Vilna gaon put the chassidim in Cherem. So don’t talk about chasing Breslev chassidim by other chassidim. Today Breslev is the biggest chassidis in Israel. And growing. Even goyim are buying there books written by some of their leaders. Breslev is in fact the real Chassidus. All others have watered down and become kehillas.

  10. To all the haters here calling themselves “frum”, go and open the Sefer of Shmirat HaLashon before you talk about about other Yidden, which is a very grave sin.

    We are right before the Day of Judgement, maybe you want to check on Middos like judging your fellow Jew well, Ahavat Israel, understanding that you don’t have to understand or agree why for some Jews it is very important to be at the Zion of Rabbi Nachman on Rosch HaShana and this does not give you green light to transgress the Number 1 sin that still keeps us in Galuth and that has caused us Corona Virus: Talking Bad about another Jew!

    Get some Seichel, Humility, Self Search and Cheshbon HaNefesh.

    Instead of pointing and blaming others and knowing exactly what is causing and what will stop the virus, lets think about why H’ has brought this upon us and how we can change for the better and learn to love and respect each other.

  11. The 1st picture is in poor taste, because someone lying horizontally draped by a טלית comes across as someone having departed this world awaiting interment; Even though this טלית didn’t have any cut off ציצית, that wouldn’t be noticeable on picture.

  12. How do they have all this time go to Uman so long before Rosh Hashana? They shouldn’t be going in the first place. I wonder what R’Nachman would say about this?

  13. Breslov being chased out by other Chasidim is an exactly the point ! The fact that the Tzaddikim, who believed in Toras HaBal Shem chased them out of their midst, is proof that it is not even Chassidus.
    Popularity? I know of another religion that started as an off shoot of Yiddishkeit and they have billions of followers. Popularity is proof of nothing. The idea that by you must believe in Rabbenu and he is the only Tzadik, and only this belief will save you is the opposite of Yiddishkiet. No wonder their books are so popular by the goyim.

  14. Why are they going where they’ve been told to stay home
    And some moron here calls them anti Semites over this. It’s THEIR country not yours

  15. “They’re not coming to live illegally in a country and take away resources from hard working people”

    Nor were the asylum applicants from whom Trump’s goons kidnapped their children and put in cages.

  16. “even though there is zero relevancy to the above..”

    If you want Jews to be treated well at borders, start speaking up regarding the treatment of others.

  17. It’s the same thing as illegals coming to the Mexican border and trying to cross then being deported. You feel bad for them? Don’t break the rules. Follow the law of the country. However anti semitic Ukraine is, they have every right to protect their border.

  18. charliehall: It was the Obama-Biden Administration that built the cages used to hold illegals entering the country. Trump’s Administration ended it.