The outstanding Great Synagogue and its surrounding Shulhof of
Vilna, was once the most important monument of Litvak Jewry.
Regrettably, like most of the monuments of Jewish culture in
Lithuania, the Synagogue was destroyed during and after the
Now a team, led by Dr. Jon Seligman >from the Israel Antiquities
Authority, Zenonas Baubonis of the Culture Heritage Conservation
Authority of Lithuania, together with Prof. Richard Freund of the
University of Hartford, have just finished a successful session to
discover remains of the synagogue using ground penetrating radar,
as the first stage of a project to excavate remains of Great
Synagogue and Shulhof.
The Renaissance-Baroque style Great Synagogue of Vilna was
constructed in the 17th century to replace an earlier building.
Over time other communal structures surrounded the synagogue and
this would become the spiritual and physical abode for Rabbi Eliyahu,
the Vilna Gaon.
Even with the destruction, the results of the ground penetrating
radar survey show that remains of the synagogue exist below the
surface. In 2016 an excavation is planned with the hope of exposing
these remains for research and to display to them to the public as
a memorial to the Jews of Vilna.
The Israel Antiquities Authority encourages the public to take part
in future excavations at the site and is looking for sponsorship of
this exciting project to uncover the remains of the Great Synagogue
Anybody wishing to take part can contact the Jon Seligman directly
at jon_sel@... .
SELIGMAN/ZELIKMAN, JOFFE, SANDMAN, YACHAD, LEDERMAN, GILLIS,