Our group from the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture, just returned this week from Lithuania and Poland on our organization’s first-ever international travel program. To see the Jewish communities there reimagining their identity and finding that restoring their old synagogues gives them authenticity of place has been very rewarding and very symbolic of our own efforts here at the Vilna, Boston’s only remaining immigrant-era landmark Jewish building and bustling cultural center.

From enjoying remarkable tour guides at some of the most historically significant sites in Europe, as well as riveting study sessions with our tremendous scholar-in-residence, to engaging in private meetings with contemporary Jewish leaders of today—such as the executive director of the JCC Krakow, the chief rabbi of Poland and the leaders of the Jewish communities of Warsaw, Vilnius and Kaunas—we were immersed in the Jewish past, present and future.

Now that we are back, our work to preserve, restore and revitalize the historic Vilna Shul will intensify. Our passion is deepened and our energy is doubled! Please join us this fall and visit our website to sign up for our mailing list and stay tuned for upcoming events, and be sure to find us on Facebook. Thank you—I look forward to welcoming you into the building soon.

Deborah Feinstein is the Vilna’s immediate past president, co-chair of its capital campaign and a founding co-chair of the Vilna’s inaugural mission to Lithuania and Poland.

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