JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Thousands of Breslav chasidim who were unable to travel to Uman for the past year gathered in the Ukrainian city to celebrate the birthday of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav which falls on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Many of those gathered came from Israel, which has opened its borders for outbound flights to those who have vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. About 50% of the people came from other countries, mainly from France and the US.
The celebrations included large parties on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Nissan which fell on Sunday this year. Many people came to pray at Rabbi Nachman’s tomb during the course of the day and also participated in the dancing which took place there.
An unusual custom involves the celebrants eating a huge cake together. The cake, which is laid out on 50 tables, is eaten with hands behind the back and it is the custom to eat every crumb, including licking the beards of other people. One of the participants explained that this signifies the love and unity between Jewish people.