This morning, the world felt like a really heavy place.

I woke up, went to get some oatmeal and lentils from the Uman outdoor market (a place I never went to before, in the last 14 years of coming to Uman…) and the whole of Pushkina just kind of felt weird and quiet.

Later on, I found out why.

On Monday, a local visible Jew had gotten beaten up by locals at the end of the street  – right next to the supermarket I went to yesterday, without knowing what had happened the day before.

The guy had lived here for 10 years and knows the city. But thanks to Gamzu and Netanyahu’s efforts to turn the local populace against frum Jews, as being an unhygenic ‘public health’ threat, the guy was punched in the face badly enough that he bled profusely from his nose.

Thanks, State of Israel!


There was other weird stuff, too.

The 10 year old who runs the local kosher makolet suddenly got super makpid that everyone should wear a mask, if they wanted to come in and shop. When someone asked him why, he explained the police had been round ‘enforcing’ masks.

Thanks, State of Israel!

Also, there were a few clearly not Jewish people trying to shop (suspiciously…) in the kosher shop, and it seemed clear they were undercover Ukrainians working for the government, to check if the ‘dirty Jews’ were keeping the ‘hygiene laws’ properly.

Heyyy, wait a minute. Where have I heard that before?

The history of Nazi racial-hygiene policies and eugenics reminds us of the importance of guarding against the use of genetics for the purpose of discrimination.


Then, I went for a walk down Pushkina towards the lake, and I saw that the road had been dug up, like you would dig it up if there was a pipe that needed replacing.

But I peered down the 2 metre deep crevice dug horizontally across the bottom of Pushkina, and I can tell you there is nary a pipe in sight. It dawned on me that the roadblocks that the Mayor of Uman (also paid off by the State of Israel) has been threatening to implement for weeks already had finally arrived.

There was a smaller hole dug at the other end of Pushkina, too, as a matching pair.


Then, my kids got weird, as they’d heard back on the Israeli grapevine that the State of Israel is intending to dump everyone who comes to Uman into a COVID-1984 hotel upon return to the country.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I told them.

If the government lasts even 12 hours beyond Rosh Hashana 5781, I’ll be very surprised.

Because already by this afternoon, the Uman see-saw had swung back to optimistic again.

There were people back in the streets. There was music. The atmosphere lightened up considerably.

I don’t know what happened to change things around, but you could definitely feel the spiritual fight-back throughout the whole of Jewish Uman.

They won’t win.

They won’t win.

They are fighting Rabbenu now, and there is just no way they will win, this time around.


In the meantime, my landlord kindly showed up at the door with my ‘washing machine’ for the next 3 weeks – a big plastic bowl.

I was actually very grateful to him, as there is no laundrette here, and I only bought enough underwear to last a week.

This trip is teaching me the value of all the ‘small things’ I take for granted every single day.

Like, having a washing machine.

Like, being able to buy a kosher loaf of bread whenever I want – in so many different styles.

Like, being a Jew in a Jewish country, even though that country is far from perfect.

For sure, there will be more lessons to learn.

You can’t spend 3 weeks solid by Rabbenu without something massive shifting around.

And that thought is exhilarating – and also kinda scary.


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash


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4 replies
  1. Daisy
    Daisy says:


    Your post today really struck a chord; I do empathize with what you and your family are going through. Being in the Catskills I also worry about being stuck in a Covid hotel upon my return to Israel. Not only that, I am so totally disgusted by the people in charge, they ARE disgusting – while at the same time Am Yisrael is beautiful, trusts in Hashem, loves Hashem, is positive; what a difference! And when I hear Jews in Israel refusing to condemn the bad guys because ‘we are not supposed to hate our brothers’, I am thinking: what, our brothers? These are psychopaths, not my brothers! They are criminally insane creatures! How can people be so blind? Or is it me? Are we supposed to love those evil, corrupt, treasonous, hateful collaborators of today’s Nazis? I don’t know….. is that what Hashem wants of us, that we should love the state? If you asked Rav Kook ZT”L he would have said: it’s the beginning of our Geulah… is it really? Granted, we can live in Eretz Yisrael, all of us; but what are they planning to do to us in the Holy Land of Israel? I don’t know….. not easy. As you say, the see-saw of Geulah.

    Chazak Ve-Ematz to you and your family. I remember when we made Aliyah and lived for three months in a house where there were only beds, a small table, chairs, a stove, and that’s it: no fridge, no washing machine, nothing: all the laundry, including sheets, was done by hand, by me. We survived just fine. B”H!

  2. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    Dear Rivka,

    May be the explanation is here:
    « “Today we wiped out Amalek, so everyone should give out cups of wine of grape juice, the 98 curses became 98 lights, the 13th of Elul is the time that the third Temple is built, now the third Temple is built, there is no more exile, no exile at all, the exile is over!”

    Quotes from the Ravs (Eliezer ben Etia) From Shiur tonight:

    “We made it to Ayalon gimatria Uman, Uman will be done in Ayalon.”«


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