Local and International Opposition to Plans for Convention Center at Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery





(I) Groups of leading Litvak (and other) rabbis

(II) Institutions

(III) Individuals

(IV) Lithuania’s Jewish community

(V) US Congress & Israel’s Knesset

(VI) Background

(I) Lithuanian-tradition [Litvak] and other rabbis uniting to produce statements of protest

1: In 2019, 2020 and 2021: New Agudath Israel declaration of 3 June 2021;  Conference of European Rabbis (explaining moral bankruptcy of London CPJCE’s machinations); Moetzes Gedolei HatorahAgudath Israel of America; New York Board of Rabbis; Orthodox Union (OU); Bnei Brak Rabbinical Court of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz (signed by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky)Chief Rabbi of South Africa; Mirrer Yeshiva (NY); [please from earlier years include12 US congressmen, 3 US senators, 10 members of Israeli Knesset, Chief Rabbi of Israel, Chief Rabbi of Western Wall].

2: The 12 Litvak-tradition rabbis / heads of yeshiva in the U.S. who signed a July 2015 proclamation: Rabbi Moshe Brown (Agudath Israel of West Lawrence); Rabbi Dovid Feinstein (Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America); Rabbi Reuven Feinstein (Yeshiva of Staten Island); Rabbi Aharon Feldman (Ner Israel Rabbinical College); Rabbi Moshe Green (Yeshiva D’Monsey Rabbinical College); Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz (Mirrer Yeshiva); Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller (Telshe Yeshiva − Chicago); Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky (Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia); Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler (Beth Medrash Govoha − Lakewood, N.J.); Rabbi Yosef Rosenblum (Beth HaMedrash Shaarei Yosher); Rabbi Aaron M. Schechter (Rabbinical Academy Mesivta Chaim Berlin); Rabbi Elya Ber Wachtfogel (Yeshiva Zichron Moshe).

3: The 4 Litvak-tradition rabbis / heads of yeshiva in Israel who signed a June 2015 proclamation: Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach; Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik; Rabbi Israel Isaac Kalmanovitz; Rabbi Tsvi Rotberg.

4: Leaders of the Gaon of Vilna Synagogue in Tel Aviv (including the Gaon’s direct descendants): Rabbi Yosef Tsvi Halevy; Rabbi Elijah Landa (in the name of all the Gaon’s family); the entire council of the synagogue and study house.

5: Rabbinic/academic delegation from Europe, the U.S. and Israel came to Lithuania on 25 August 2015 to plead for the convention center to be moved to another location: Rabbi Chizki Kalmanowitz (Asra Kadisha, Jerusalem); Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz (dean, Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn, N.Y.); Rabbi Malkiel Kotler (dean, Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, N.J.);  Rabbi David Niederman (Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada); Dr. David Michael Schaps (Conference of Academicians for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries); Rabbi Avraham Yaffe Schlesinger (chief rabbi, Orthodox community, Geneva).

6: Rabbinic delegation meets in Feb. 2017 in Washington DC with Lithuania’s ambassador to plead for the cemetery, including: Rabbi Pinchos Hecht (Mirrer Yeshiva, N.Y.), Rabbi Malkiel Kotler (Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood), Rabbi Osher Kalmanowitz (Mirrer Yeshiva, N.Y.), Rabbi Shmuel Lemberger, Rabbi David Niederman (United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn), Rabbi Shmuel Mordche Stern, Rabbi Yakov Ber Teitelbaum (representing his father, Satmar Grand Rabbi Yekusiel Zalmen Teitelbaum).

7: Compendium of rabbinic pleas to the government of Lithuania concerning the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery  (in Hebrew)

8: Letters from the Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites in Israel, dean of Beis Meir Yeshiva, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, High Satmar Rabbinic Court, Rabbi S. J. Feffer, Rabbi Chaim BurshteinCentral Rabbinic Congress.

9: Decision of the Lithuanian Tradition Rabbinical Court of Rabbi Nissim Karletz in Bnei Brak, signed by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky in February 2020, thereafter signed by the heads of yeshiva of Poneviezh, Slobodka and Telz.


(II) Institutions

Agudath Israel of America

Asra Kadisha

Association for the Promotion of a New Model of Human Rights and Duties

Bnei Brak Rabbinical Court of Rabbi Nissim Karelitz (signed by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky)

Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada

Conference of Academicians for the Protection of Jewish Cemeteries

Conference of European Rabbis (CER)

Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations

European Commission (president) on decision not to fund the project

Kaunas Religious Jewish Community

Knesset (1o members of Israeli parliament)

Lo Tishkach European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative

Machon Ha-Gró (in English)

Mirrer Yeshiva

Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah

New York Board of Rabbis

Orthodox Union (OU)

Satmar High Rabbinical Court

Simon Wiesenthal Center (Israel office)SWC international HQ

Vilna Gaon Synagogue in Tel Aviv

Vilnius Chabad

Vilnius Jewish Community

Yeshiva Beth Meir

(III) Individuals

Rabbi Elchonon Baron (Jerusalem)

Mauše Beirakas (Lithuania)

Didier Bertin (France)

Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein (Lithuania) [in Lithuanian] [discovery of 1935 document] [Launch of international petition in Dec. 2016]

Herbert Block (New York)

Christian Bonneville (France & Lithuania)

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein (Los Angeles)

Rabbi Chaim Burshtein (Lithuania)  [response]

Milan Chersonski (Lithuania)

Rabbi Abraham Cooper (USA)

Professor Alan Dershowitz (Harvard University, USA)

Donna Druchunas (USA & Lithuania)

Rabbi Pini Dunner (London and Beverley Hills)

Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Feffer [in English] (Lithuania & Israel)

Professor Pinchos Fridberg (Lithuania)

Berel Fried (USA)

Dr. Bernard Fryshman [II] (USA)

Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein (Chief Rabbi of South Africa)

Antanas Guoga (Seimas member)

Simon Gurevich (elected head of Vilnius Jewish Community)

Rabbi Pinchos  Hecht

Rabbi Marvin Hier (USA)

Malcolm Hoenlein (USA)

Dovid Katz (Lithuania)

Juris Kaža (Latvia)

Serge Klarsfeld (France)

Rabbi Kalev Krelin (Riga/Vilnius) [petition signer; DH award; JC]

Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky (Lithuania)

Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas (Lithuania) [English;  Russian] [II]

Rabbi Elijah Landa (Israel)

Rabbi David Lau (Chief Rabbi of Israel)

Professor Shnayer (Sid) Leiman [II] [III] (USA)

Pastor Michael Maass (Lithuania & USA)

Kęstutis Masiulis (Seimas member)

Dr. Beata Nemcová (Slovakia)

Julius Norwilla (Lithuania)

Professor Josifas Parasonis  (Lithuania)

Rabbi Abraham Pinter (London) [petition signer] [obituary]

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz (Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites)

Yair Rosenberg (United States)

Rabbi Tzvi Rotberg (Israel)

Satmar Grand Rabbi Yehuda Yekusiel Zalman Teitelbaum

Dr. Tomasz Wiśniewski (Poland)

Dr. Efraim Zuroff (Israel)

(IV) From Lithuania’s Jewish community

Mauše Beirakas

Ruta (Reyzke) Bloshtein [in Lithuanian] [international petition]

Rabbi Chaim Burshtein (Lithuania)  [response]

Milan Chersonski

Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Feffer

Professor Pinchos Fridberg

Simon Gurevich (Simonas Gurevicius)

Dovid Katz

Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky

Kaunas Religious Jewish Community

Rabbi Kalev Krelin [petition signer; DH award; JC]

Professor Josifas Parasonis

(V) US Congress and Israel’s Knesset

12 United States Congressmen write to the president of Lithuania

3 United States Senators

10 members of Israeli Knesset (+ interior minister)

(VI) Background

Background; DH editor’s take

Paper Trail

US gov’s taxpayer financed Commission to preserve foreign heritage

CPJCE (London organization for preserving Jewish cemeteries)

Admas Kodesh


DH Section

This entry was posted in Appeals to the European Commission on Piramónt, Cemeteries and Mass Graves, Conference of European Rabbis (CER), Dovid Katz, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery at Piramónt (in Šnipiškės / Shnípishok), Opinion, Rothschild Foundation Europe (Hanadiv): Lithuanian Issues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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