Between 1850 and 1950, Boston’s Jewish population grew and primarily flourished in seven neighborhoods that evolved over time. Before World War I, immigrants arrived in multiple waves and settled first in the South End, then in the North End, West End, and East Boston. They moved on to new, less crowded neighborhoods when they could afford to do so. Boston’s Jewish population reached its height of 115,000 people with over 50 synagogues in the 1930s. Boston’s Jews defined a new American identity that balanced older traditions with new world expectations and opportunities. Together they wove a tapestry of religious, educational, and community activities based upon historical values, dreams, and resources of the new world. They left a legacy of education, philanthropy, and culture that continues to thrive and renew itself today.
Our programs have a lasting impact on every student who walks through the Vilna's doors. The Vilna Shul offers a range of learning opportunities to students that use our building as a powerful teaching tool. Through guided explorations of our building, students can gain knowlege not just of Jewish history, but also intercultural relations, urban planning, Massachusetts history, and immigrant life. We inspire critical thinking, new research initiatives, cross-cultural communication, and creative endeavors. Students of all backgrounds, cultures, and religions, from all over the United Stated and the world, visit the Vilna on their tours of Boston. We have recently welcomed local Boy Scout troops, Jewish day schools, local public schools, summer camps from up and down the East Cost, and university students.
To schedule your private, guided group tours, email Lynne Krasker Schultz, Director of Community Outreach, at email@example.com. Please let us know the ages of your group members as well as any specific needs your group may have. There is a $5/person fee for group tours.
If you have a picture or story to share about your visit to the Vilna let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.