Into Podolia

Vasyl, our great driver, brought Sylvia and me to Vinnytsia in Podolia today. On the way we have taken a look on the Jewish cemetery of Ternopil and have visited Medzhybizh – the place where the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, was buried. A magic place.

The distance from Lviv to Vinnytsia is almost 400 km, a long way to go on Ukrainian roads. We therefore held back with long stops to get as far as possible today. Our visit to the Jewish cemetery of Ternopil was therefore short. The cemetery is small and not very old, but I like it, because the grave stones have a characteristic local style.

Medzhybizh requires more time. There is an impressive fortress. From looking at some of its buildings I learned from where the architecture of the Galician fortress synagogues originates – the structural similarity is obvious. However, the biggest attraction is the grave of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism, which is visited every year by thousands of Hasidim. It is located at the small Jewish cemetery. The destructions from the time of the German occupation are obvious, but the ohel that protects the grave of the Baal Shem Tov was rebuilt. I am not a religious person, but it’s impossible for me to ignore the magic atmosphere of the place.

Now we are in Vinnytsia in a small hotel. Tomorrow we will continue to former Transnistria.

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