The Vilna Shul is leading a mission to Lithuania and Poland June 17-26, 2018. Deborah Feinstein, chair of the trip, answered a few questions about what makes this inaugural mission so special.

What is special about the Vilna’s 2018 Mission to Lithuania and Poland?

This is the Vilna’s inaugural mission to Eastern Europe! We have been working with several experts and Board members on creating an amazing, truly special trip that will be uplifting and that will mirror the Vilna’s organizational mission of community and culture. The trip is open to anyone who wants to have this remarkable experience with a truly wonderful group of people!

What are you most looking forward to seeing?

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Oh my…this is a tough one. The trip culminates in Krakow at the annual Jewish Culture Festival. Enjoying klezmer music, Yiddish theater, delicious delicacies with 20,000 people in gorgeous surroundings. Or maybe it’s the visit to Vilnius’ Choral Synagogue, which survived both Soviet and Nazi Germany occupation. Or perhaps touring Warsaw’s new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jewry. I can’t choose!

I’m also looking forward to learning with our brilliant scholar-in-residence, Jacek Nowakowski, the Senior Curator of the National Institute for Holocaust Documentation.

Why is this trip happening now?

For many years, the Vilna was quiet—a testament to the historic Jewish immigrant community from Vilnius (Vilna in Yiddish) that built our nearly 100-year-old building. For the past few years, the Vilna has been on a trajectory of growth and is finally returning to its roots of being a place for the Jewish community to come together and to thrive as Boston’s only downtown cultural center.

It’s exciting to see this rebirth happen and to be a part of the growth as the immediate past president of the Board of Directors. We are finally in a place where we can take our exciting local cultural programs global! We are excited to visit our roots and to learn about how Jewish culture is once again becoming part of the fabric of Eastern Europe.

Find more information on the mission here, or contact Rosa Kramer Franck at rosa@vilnashul.org.

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