What To Expect
Jews were settled in Vilna, as the capital was and still is known in Jewish culture from around the time of its founding in 1323. By the 18th century Vilna had become the world capital of traditional religious (Talmudic) learning, often referred to as the Jerusalem of Lithuania, or Jerusalem of the North.
Towering over the many great Jewish figures the city has produced is Gaon of Vilna. Between the wars, Vilna was a bustling international center of modern Yiddish culture and scholarship. Within a few years 94% of the 250,000 or so Litvaks, including the 80,000 Jews living in Vilnius at that time perished in the Holocaust, the highest percentage of genocide in Europe.
Today a small community of 5,000 or so Litvaks makes bold efforts to maintain its heritage.
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