(JTA) — A rabbi in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is opening there what he says is the city’s first yeshiva, or Jewish religious seminary, since World War II.
The Vilna Yeshiva will have about a dozen students when it opens this fall, Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement’s emissary to Vilnius, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Vilnius used to have many dozens of yeshivas and synagogues before the Holocaust, when it was a major hub of Jewish religious and cultural life. The Nazis and local collaborators, however, killed more than 90 percent of Lithuanian Jewry. Today, about 3,000 Jews live in Lithuania and Vilnius has one functioning synagogue, the Choral Synagogue, where Krinsky officiates.
“The Vilna Yeshiva will restore a semblance of that intensive Torah study, back to its roots,” Krinsky said.
Krinsky and other teachers will teach the teenagers attending the yeshiva, he said. They hail from Jewish religious Orthodox families from several countries and will study at the yeshiva on a full-time basis, he said.
The funding for the yeshiva came from private donors, Krinsky said. He declined to disclose the cost and budget of the yeshiva.