In 2020, Volodymyr Zelensky who became Ukrainian president in May 2019 made the Jewish Rosh Hashanah a Ukrainian public holiday (wrong, see the Update at the bottom!) - at least when believing the following German Wikipedia entry:

2020 machte Selenskyj das jüdische Neujahrsfest Rosch ha-Schana zum nationalen Feiertag.[47]

Automatically translated to English:

The Jewish President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, even had Rosh Hashanah declared a national holiday. Much to the delight of the Israeli government, which stressed: "This has such great significance that goes far beyond domestic matters."

Taken from German Wikipedia on Wolodymyr Selenskyj

--> [47] https://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/israel/rosch-haschana-feier-abgesagt/

Was it clear in advance that Voldymyr Zelensky would try to make Rosh Hashanah a national holiday as a president? Is it at all true that he did this, and was there a parliamentary and/or public debate to decide this, not just a decision of the president?


It turns out that the newspaper text is wrong. I could not know this, believing the sources on Wikipedia which is against all odds an overall reliable site. I was skeptical, though, I also did not understand why that article then changed to mainly the Ukrainian Uman, a town for Jewish pilgrims, and Corona fears, instead of dealing with the national holiday. Yet, I believed that this new national holiday had been made. It seemed enough to ask a question about it. I have questioned the truth already in the first published question (Is it at all true that he did this). Since an answer now shows that he at least proposed this, which does not have so much less weight overall, the question is now:

*Was it clear in advance that Voldymyr Zelensky would propose Rosh Hashanah as a national holiday as a president? With "in advance" meaning "before becoming the president".


Is it at all true that he tried this, and was there a parliamentary and/or public debate?*


I thought this Rosh Hashanah would be on 1.1., though it is in September. This mistake does not change the core of the question.


This question was closed since:

The primary purpose of this question appears to be to promote or discredit a specific political cause, group or politician. It does not appear to be a good-faith effort to learn more about governments, policies and political processes as defined in the help center.

The question's core is not whether this holiday was made or whether there was a political debate. These are bonus questions, they were answered in full by the answer below, which I only unaccepted since it does not answer the core of the question, else it is helpful. The core of the question is the clearly astonishing message that a president who is not of the same ethnicity and/or culture can make such a step in his first year in power to at least propose holidays of non-Ukrainian culture - and still get elected (if the public knew about it), or tries this even without letting know the public in advance but still gets support by the public afterwards.

I agree that this question is not in good faith, but this is because it is objectively not in good faith.

  • It is not in good faith since it is inherently against this political step.
  • Moreover, and also not in good faith, it is indeed skeptical about the Jewish influence in the Ukraine and the ties to Israel and the USA that are objectively linked with that. That is how it goes. When it is all about the Ukrainian culture, it is at least remarkable when famous persons of Ukraine have a Jewish background and seem to be favored by Israel and the US, and when the president then proposes the holidays of minorities.

The governor of Kiev is one quarter Ashkenazi Jewish and has a father who was not born outside the Ukraine (no wonder, as a Soviet general). Mind: Vitali Klitschko has also lost relatives during Holodomor and thus must have very strong roots in Ukraine:

Part of Vitali's family died during Holodomor, while his great-grandfather and family on the female line of his mother died during Holocaust. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitali_Klitschko

The lost relatives from Holodomor make it understandable why Vitali Klitschko is at the forefront against Russia. It is not about being a quarter Jewish when you have this Ukrainian fate in the family history.

By 3 March, according to The Times, Zelenskyy had survived three assassination attempts, two of which were allegedly orchestrated by the Wagner Group. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wagner_Group The Wagner Group is the right wing of Russian warfare. There is some likelihood that this operation and the earlier political actions against the president from the start of his service were done also for the president to be Jewish.

You might say this is anti-semitism, that is how it goes. Russia sees the Ukraine as Jewish-fascist, which is even more two-sided, since the Nazi wing is against Jews, while Zelensky won 70 percent of the votes (see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/25/vladimir-putin-ukraine-attack-antisemitism-denazify). Or three-sided, since Ukraine was and is indeed against Jews throughout its history, but the same was true for Russia, see the links above about Jewish life in Russia.

The question is not in good faith since it is skeptical about a democratic development, the Jewish influence, and the world-wide net behind that. But lastly, the question is about long-term changes from immigration, be it Jews or Russians, and therefore not anti-semitic in its core. For example, 90 years ago, there were no Russian speakers in the east of Ukraine, they were settled by the Soviets, partly as a plan after Holodomor to get the land-line to the Black Sea, or immigrated, and many must have noted that this area got settled more and more by Russians. Therefore, any step of a homogenous minority that immigrates can have political influence after a while. The same question would be valid if any other minority's person became president in a democracy and then proposed holidays of some of the larger minorities, and the question would then be about whether the public knew about it in advance or not. This is the political core of it, which I see as on-topic, the rest goes likely a bit too far now, trying to shed some light on the "why" of the question.

  • 2
    "clear in advance" That sounds a bit odd. Clear to whom and why? Do you mean if he used it during his election campaign? May 29, 2022 at 15:15
  • 1
    @Trilarion The question is not about adding January 1 as a holiday. It is about adding whatever day in September or possibly October that Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year's Day) occurs on. May 29, 2022 at 15:50
  • 3
    Time and Date has the holidays for Ukraine here, in 2020. Reds are "bank holidays". May 29, 2022 at 19:28
  • 2
    @ETathome No, the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) is most certainly not on the 1.1. of the Christian calendar. The Jewish New Year is on the first day of the Hebrew calendar, which comes in September or October of the Christian calendar in the current era. May 31, 2022 at 6:34
  • 1
    This appears to be antisemitic nonsense. Rosh Hashanah is around September time, not in January, so it's not clear why OP would think that declaring January 1 - ie the secular new year - as a holiday would have anything to do with Jews, or why Israel would be delighted. May 31, 2022 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


First part of the question: Zelensky did not make Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year's day) a public holiday or bank holiday in Ukraine.

The New Orthodox Times (an English language publication covering issues related to Orthodoxy and the Christian world) published an article titled New religious holidays have been established in Ukraine on 4 August 2020. The title does not agree with any part of the article. The article content is very explicit that Zelensky could only propose that additional holidays be added. Actually implementing would have needed to be voted on and approved by Ukraine's Parliament (emphasis mine, below):

So far it has become known that the proposals for new holidays concern the Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the Jewish holidays, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, as well as the Western Easter celebrated by the Catholic Church... After examining the issue in co-operation with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, the government should bring the bill to a vote in parliament. At the same time, as part of these initiatives, a few months earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky had stated that the construction of a new mosque in Kyiv would begin soon.

As for the other part of the question, Israel was NOT delighted at Zelensky's proposal. At Israel's urging, Zelensky temporarily banned foreigners from entering Ukraine (including Jews) during the weeks before and after Rosh Hashanah. He announced this restriction, due to COVID19 super spreader fears, as reported by The Times of Israel on 20 August 2020: Ukraine bans foreigners through September, foiling Rosh Hashanah pilgrimage. The banning of Jews in visiting Ukraine during Rosh Hashanah was at the instigation of the Israeli government:

Ukrainian PM also signals Kiev will ban mass gatherings in Uman [Ukraine] during the Jewish new year, after Israeli officials warned festivities could result in a COVID-19 outbreak: Ukraine on Wednesday announced it would seal its borders to foreigners through September to curb rising coronavirus infections, blocking Israeli and Jewish pilgrims from traveling to the city of Uman for the Rosh Hashanah holiday... [Israel's head of coronavirus response] vowed to “do everything” to prevent large numbers of Hasidic Jews from flying to Uman and threatened he could resign over the matter.

The following is the full list of public holidays in Ukraine as established by law according to Wikipedia:

  • January 1 for New Year's Day
  • January 7 for Christmas
  • March 8 for International Women's Day
  • Easter Monday/ Whit Monday/ Pentecost Monday
  • May 1 for International Workers' Day
  • May 8 and May 9 for Victory Day over Nazism in World War II
  • June 28 for Constitution Day
  • August 24 for Independence Day
  • October 14 for Defenders and Defendresses of Ukraine Day
  • December 25 for Gregorian and Revised Julian calendar Christmas

As of the present time, there have been no new public holidays in Ukraine since Zelensky became president.

  • 1
    @Trilarion Yes, that is correct, that New Year's Day January 1 was always a bank holiday in Ukraine. Rosh Hashanah which is New Year's Day in the Jewish religion (just like there is a Chinese New Year's Day) was never a Ukraine holiday. Some of the other holidays are recent, e.g. Poroshenko established a second Christmas day on December 25 whereas it was always on January 7 only before 2017. May 29, 2022 at 15:23
  • 7
    @Trilarion The reason the first of January is a holiday in many countries is because many people tend to stay up well past midnight on New Year's Eve, and some people tend to celebrate the New Year to the point of intoxication. Forcing tired, perhaps hung over, and perhaps still intoxicated employees come in to work on time on New Year's Day is such a bad idea that it's best to just make that day a holiday. This has nothing to do with the Jewish New Year, which usually is in late September. May 29, 2022 at 19:29
  • 1
    In all fairness, the Jüdische Allgemeine article also talks mainly about the cancelation of the 5781/2020 Rosh Hashanah festivities in Uman. The main gist is that both governments had decided this together, regreted the circumstances, but hoped the next year would give another opportunity to celebrate together.
    – ccprog
    May 29, 2022 at 22:26
  • 1
    What do you mean by Zelensky banned all foreigners? He banned them from doing what? Surely he didn’t declare their very existence on this earth illegal. May 30, 2022 at 6:32
  • 4
    @ETathome I have absolutely no idea what are you misreading in such a way, but nowhere in that page it says anything about Rosh Hashana being on 1 January. It says it happens on the 1 Tishrei (which is the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, but marks the start of a new year; it’s complicated). It also gives you the Gregorian dates for a couple of recent years, from which you can see for yourself that it comes in September or October. May 31, 2022 at 5:45

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