In last week’s parasha, Vayechi Yaakov (And Jacob lived..) we learn about the death of Jacob, and his dying wish to be buried in the land of his foremothers and fathers.For centuries Jews lived and died in Eastern Europe, where most of us get our Jewish backgrounds. In the wake of the holocaust the final resting places of those fortunate enough to be buried have taken on a new symbolic importance.Unfortunately, the city of Vilna, once the most important city in Jewish Europe, is preparing to build a convention center on top of the historic Jewish cemetery.From Tablet.com:For centuries, the city of Vilna (today Vilnius) was the center of Jewish life in what was then known as Polish-Lithuania. By the turn of the 20th century, the Lithuanian capital boasted over 100 synagogues, an array of Jewish newspapers, and scores of other cultural and religious institutions. It played host to the famed Gaon of Vilna, one of Judaism’s spiritual giants….One remaining vestige of the city’s illustrious past, however, is its old Jewish cemetery, in which “a galaxy of eminent European rabbinic scholars and authors” were buried, as one leading scholar put it. Yet compounding tragedy upon tragedy, the Lithuanian government, reportedly with European Union funding, is preparing to build a $25 million convention center on the site.Sign the petition here, and share the link to all of your contacts.
Read the entire story on Tablet here:
After the presidency, he began to think about his retirement and he asked me what he could do to help Federations. Months later he visited Federations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami. His one regret, he repeated again and again, was that he did not dream big enough.
This afternoon I leave for Israel and bring with me the heartfelt condolences of our community and our Federation movement. May his memory be a blessing.