Friday, April 16, 2021
About a thousand Hasidic Jews from around the world made a pilgrimage to a small northern Hungarian village on Thursday, but their presence has made some locals nervous as Hungary fights a third, destructive wave of the pandemic.
The village of Bodrogkeresztur has recently become a pilgrimage site for Hasidic Jews to commemorate a rabbi who they believe performed miracles 100 years ago.
Attendances have grown to more than 20,000 in recent years and the organisers had expected 100,000 people this year until the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Rabbi Moshe Friedlander, who owns a house in the village and organises part of the pilgrimage, said the pilgrims were either vaccinated or had tested negative for COVID-19.
One young pilgrim from Israel said, "we come to pray. This is a big rabbi."
Nevertheless locals said they were nervous.
"We had too many deaths as it is," said Ildiko Cserhalmi, a local shopkeeper. "They (the pilgrims) come in droves ... We avoid them as best we can."
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