The facemask fascism has now followed us here.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you’ll know that I totally don’t buy into all the propaganda around ‘why we need to wear facemasks’ – or all the propaganda about Covid-1984, generally.

As soon as I hit Ben Gurion in the wee hours of Thursday morning, I was forced to wear a mask – over my nose! – pretty much non-stop (except in the toilet cubicles) through Charles de Gaulle and Lisbon airports, until we hit Zhuliany airport in the Ukraine.

There, we noticed a curious thing:

Hardly any of the Ukrainians were wearing facemasks at all, and very few of those who were wearing them were wearing them over their noses.

That was a silver lining amidst all the difficulty of being detained in Zhuliany airport for 17 hours, that at least no-one was enforcing full-on facemasks. That would have been unbearable.


When we got out to Kiev, I saw that less than one in 10 Ukrainians were wearing facemasks on the street – and my heart leapt with joy.

For the first time in months and months, I could walk around the streets without peering over my shoulder waiting for the Corona-fascist cops to fine me for not wearing a mask.

It was the first time I could really ‘breathe’ outside for about 4 months, as I live in Jerusalem where Corona Fascism is unfortunately flourishing.

We had the same sense of freedom when we first got to Uman, early Sunday morning. In the shops, some people were wearing masks, most people weren’t, and no-one was enforcing anything.

Already by today, that’s all changing.

Facemask fascism has caught up with me in Uman, and when I went to the pizza shop today, they were marking out the retarded ‘2 metre social distancing’ measurements on the floor with pink stickies.



At the kever of Rabbenu, big signs popped up like so many red and white mushrooms, telling us all to wear a mask, because the Rosh Hashana gathering in Uman depended on us being seen to follow the rules, and the fate of millions and billions of people were hanging on whether Rosh Hashana in Uman happens this year, or not.

At least with that last point, I couldn’t argue.

Rav Berland said a few weeks back that if 40,000 people got to Uman this year, the whole Corona plandemic would be cancelled and obliterated.



Just now I was in the women’s section by Rabbenu, still trying to get my head together after having 4 straight days of no sleep, 17 hours of incarceration at Zhuliany airport, one shabbos with 120 male chassids all squished into one hotel in Kiev, and (the most difficult of all…) approaching a week non-stop of spending time with my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, my kids, my husband and my daughter’s ‘plus one’, hopefully bashert.

But this morning, I started to feel so wobbly again inside.

God, when does this madness end? Not just the madness of me now being in Uman for three weeks, totally on the back foot and unprepared for that, but all this general madness, of feeling pursued by Corona fascism wherever in the world I go?

That’s how it feels at the moment, that I can’t get away from the tyranny, the obvious ‘bad’, the obvious evil that is happening here.


In Jerusalem, I tried to insulate myself from the madness by stocking my house with enough basic food staples to last us a month, if it had to, so we could wait out any ‘storm’ without having to go outside.

And now…. I’m here.

And all my couscous and tuna is there.

And here…. I don’t even know how the sugar looks, or have an oven to cook in.

These are small things, but today I felt them overwhelming me.

I am so unprepared for this. I can’t look after my family properly. I don’t have a washing machine, I don’t have any tea towels, and I’m here in Uman for 3 weeks over Rosh Hashana….


God has been very good to us.

We managed to rent a really good place within a couple of hours of arriving (apparently, that’s unheard of for Rosh Hashana, but with all the uncertainty, we probably found it easier than otherwise.)

In terms of Uman, Rosh Hashana, we are in a 3 roomed mansion that’s new, clean and has a big (traif…) kitchen. But the stove and sink are easily koshered, so I’m already cooking here, and there’s no oven to worry about in any case.

I’m two minutes from the kever, and our landlord is grumpy, but apparently one of the better Ukrainians we could be dealing with.

I know in so many ways I’m so lucky to be here.

And at the same time, my soul is just so very tired of all this, and can’t take any more of it.


Just now, I was in the kever and Shula, that permanent fixture of the ladies’ section, rushed in to tell us that we had to past the mivchan (the test) tomorrow.

Apparently, the president of the Ukraine is coming tomorrow, to check that we’re all wearing our masks and keeping our distance and praying in the retarded ‘capsules’ they’ve now set up on the mens’ side of the kever.

If we pass the test, word is they will open the borders to religious Jews, and Uman Rosh Hashana 5781 will happen after all.




Dear readers, my whole world is so upside down at the moment. I’m living in a country where a hand-turned wooden chopping board costs less than a single kosher bread roll, where the chickens are as big as ostriches, where the cucumbers look like prickly cactii, and where I have no idea where the ‘me’ is really meant to fit into this equation.

A woman in Uman in Rosh Hashana, with my two girls.

My laptop is at home in Jerusalem, with all the login info I need for my emails.

My books are there.

My garden is there.

My friends are there.

My baking equipment is there.

What am I doing here?


I guess God will show me when the time is right.

But in the meantime, events of the last week have really pushed me to the edge of my koach, and my ability to manage.

BH, Rebbe Nachman will help me to find the strength to bounce back.


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10 replies
  1. Inna Khovov
    Inna Khovov says:

    Rivka, I think you are actually paving the way for others to get there . this is the biggest job in the world as far as I understand. If everything depends on Uman Rosh HaShana, then the world needs you there, we need you there.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      thanks Inna…. I’m honestly feeling pretty lost in the world at the mo. Ironically, it’s even a little hard to pray or ‘be’ at the kever at the moment. I keep remembering what Rabbenu said about Rosh Hashana: eat, don’t eat, sleep, don’t sleep, pray, don’t pray – the important thing is just to be here, in Uman.

  2. Nehama
    Nehama says:

    I so much look forward to reading your updates. Sorry it is hard on you. Maybe after a week or so you can look for a laundromat? Are there any kosher food places that sell hot kosher meals to go? I remember last summer visiting Jerusalem. As an American with kids in tow, the lack of a laundry dryer was, um, difficult. Blue jeans take a long time to dry. In a pinch, of course, there is always the bath tub and shampoo. In Jerusalem we had many meals of pizza and ice cream. I know there are restaurants in Jerusalem, but we had young twins with us and trust me. You do not want to spend hours in a restaurant waiting for service with cranky twins. Then in Tiveria and Tzfat there was no washer at all. Luckily that was only for the last week. The whole 3 weeks there was no oven or stove in any location. Ugh. A woman feels so helpless when she can’t even fry an egg for her family. Hugs and commiseration from California.

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Thanks so much for this, Nehama. It popped my ‘feeling sorry for myself’ bubble. This is not a big deal, is it? At the end of the day, I’m by Rabbenu for Rosh Hashana, after all. Thank you.

  3. sarahprais
    sarahprais says:

    It is normal to feel like this.

    “Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”

    And you really laboured to get to Uman! Try to enjoy this time. Sending love from Israel

  4. Daisy Stern
    Daisy Stern says:

    Dear Rivka,

    My son showed me an article in the Jerusalem Post about the israeli government mentality towards Uman that is worth reading: it spells out exactly why they are doing what they are doing: they want to OWN RABBI NACHMAN and the Nachman brand, and more than anything, STOP ANY OF US from continuing to honor, respect Rabbi Nachman and everything he represents. Here is the link:

    And by the way this past Shabbat again at the Loch Sheldrake Shul, during Kiddush, we met a doctor originally from Kiev who has insider connections to the Ukraine, who stated unequivocally that it was not the Ukrainian government that wanted to cancel Uman, as they make a fortune out of Uman Rosh Hashanah every year; he said it was definitely the israeli government who pressured or bribed Ukraine into agreeing to shut it down. So this article by Amotz Asael really exposes the mentality of the israeli government and their vitriolic hatred of the pilgrimage to the Ukraine.

    The pieces of the puzzle are slowly but surely coming together.

    Shabbat Shalom in Uman!


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