Vilna Shul
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Address: 18 Phillips St, Boston, MA 02114 (Cross street: Garden St)
Neighborhood: Beacon Hill / West End
Phone: 617-523-2324
Website: www.vilnashul.org
Landmarks Recently revived Beacon Hill synagogue.
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On Our Radar:
Continuity: Traditions of Jewish Art and Architect
Posted by:  Manya Chylinski
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
What a wonderful treasure to find hidden away on the north slope of Beacon Hill. A synagogue built in 1919 and shuttered in 1985, Vilna Shul was recently resurrected, and once funds are raised, will be restored to its original glory. The community room houses a fascinating exhibition that seeks to educate visitors about the heritage of the Eastern European Jewish community. The synagogues that form the basis of this exhibition were all destroyed during World War II, and the sense of loss—of the cultural heritage, the community, the architectural treasure—is palpable. Not only is the architecture of these synagogues fascinating (make sure to see the model of Zabludow Synagogue), but the wall paintings are breathtaking and even surprising. It is in the wall paintings, in fact, that you most easily see the continuity between the Old World and the new. Behind the peeling paint in the sanctuary you see evidence of more wall paintings, reminiscent of those downstairs in the exhibition. And you cannot help but be eager for the restoration to begin, and this architectural and cultural treasure to shine once again.

Photo:  Manya Chylinski
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