Vilnius Jewish Heritage Tour

We started the morning exploring the Jewish Quarter, which the Nazis later turned into the ghetto before marching the 70,000 to Ponar for execution and burning. But we’ll get to that later in the day. 

Goan of Vilnius is honored as the head of the Jewish community who wanted to open it up and assimilate without losing our faith, culture and community - unlike the Hasids. 

The other Jewish honoree in Vilnius is Dr. Semakh Shabbat, know for his generosity with the poor children of Vilnius. 

We saw the archeological dig for the synagogue. 

And checked out a lot of Jewish buildings- homes and synagogues. Mostly repurposed. 

Note the memorial at the apartments built for the Jewish families in need. It was to commemorate a mass execution on the spot. 

Next stop at the Jewish cemetery that is being restored to replace the matzevet (headstones) the Nazis and the Soviets used for building material. 

Last stop before leaving Vilnius- the active synagogue. Why any Jew would resettle back in Eastern Europe, I’m not sure.