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History and Archaeology

Exciting Discovery: Archaeologists Unearth Hebrew Inscriptions in the Destroyed Great Synagogue of Vilna

Israeli, Lithuanian and American archaeologists who have been excavating for four years at the site of the destroyed Great Synagogue in Vilna have revealed discoveries that reveal key elements of the legendary synagogue. Watch

| 23.07.19 | 13:37
Hebrew inscriptions found in Vilna Great Synagogue (John Seligman Israel Antiquities Authority)
The discovery includes the front section of the Bimah, including the bases of two of its columns, and “a magnificent inscription that was originally set below the Hazzan’s (Cantor’s) reading table” and honors Vilna Jews who went to live in Tiberius and Jerusalem in the 18th century.

(Credit: Loic Salfati)

This stone is one of the most important inscriptions in the synagogue and was placed in an auspicious place on the front of the Bimah. It describes the donation of the Hazzan’s reading table to the Great Synagogue in 1796 by two brothers in honour of their father who had emigrated (Aliyah) to Tiberius in Eretz Israel and had later died in Jerusalem. These few sentences express the deep connection between the Litvak community and Israel that existed from the time of the Gaon of Vilna until today.