Filmmaker Maya Batash’s spiritual journey began three years ago, when she took her first trip to Uman, Ukraine, to visit the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman, the father of the Breslov Hasidic movement. “Have you ever planned a journey somewhere but don’t know why you’re going?” Batash asked me recently, as she sipped herbal tea in a café in Forest Hills, Queens.
“I heard Uman was a place men travel to, but I didn’t know what the point was of even going. A neighbor of mine suggested I go with her one year and I somehow found myself booking a flight,” said Batash, who is currently making a documentary about women traveling to Uman. “My parents are originally from Georgia so the thought of going back to the Soviet Union was crazy. But I came back with this special clarity, this strength and my life would never be the same again.”