The Forward’s Nathaniel Popper reports:
… The mayor estimates that a third of the real estate near the grave is now owned by Israelis. This year, many of the pilgrims stayed in an enormous tent city that was erected by an Israeli philanthropist who also paid for the plane tickets of some 4,000 people.
One of the beneficiaries was Aaron Einhorn, a 17 year old from Brooklyn. He said that the writings of Nachman had turned him back on to Judaism after a bad experience in Jewish schools.
“I’ve been reading some of the pamphlets some dudes handed out,” said Einhorn, who was standing with a guitar under his arm near the entrance to the gravesite. “The rebbe had a lot of good theories. He’s all about love. It’s pretty much dance, be happy. I’m a pretty mellow guy.”
Einhorn said he came with nothing but his clothes, his guitar and a reserved spot in the tent. As far as getting food, he said he was “somehow scraping it together.” Einhorn said that after the late nights he spent playing guitar with other pilgrims, any other logistical problems dissolved in the songs.
“There’s no direction — it’s wonderful,” Einhorn said. “A Woodstock for the Jews — that’s what it is.”
The Forward also has a great slideshow of the Uman experience, including this pic of a Chabadnik.