Vilna Shul Review
This historic treasure, one of the oldest synagogues in the region, is the focus of both renovation and research. The two-story brick building was completed in 1919 by Jews from Vilna (or Vilnius), the capital of present-day Lithuania. Modeled after the great synagogue of Vilna, it's the last remaining immigrant era synagogue in Boston and stands in a neighborhood that was once deeply Jewish. The building, abandoned in 1985 after the congregation dropped to a single member, was bought by the Boston Center for Jewish Culture, which is overseeing its restoration. Above the doorway gleams renewed gilded Hebrew lettering; the hand-carved ark and the stained-glass Star of David are worth a peek; and murals depicting traditional themes are being uncovered from beneath seven layers of paint. Three skylights flood the space with natural light. Guided tours are available; call ahead to arrange.