In the Lithuanian city of Vilnius—known to Jews as Vilna—archaeologists have been at work excavating the remains of the great synagogue, which was destroyed by successive Nazi and Soviet occupations. Like many East European synagogues, the 17th-century structure was part of a larger complex organized around a central courtyard that included smaller houses of prayer and other buildings. Cnaan Liphshiz describes the latest discovery:
An Ancient Torah Pointer Discovered in the Remains of a Vilna Synagogue
At America’s Best Universities, Biblical Religion Is a Curiosity, if Not a Menace
At the time of Columbia University’s founding in 1784, notes Meir Soloviechik, the leader of the local synagogue, Gershom Mendes Seixas, was made a member of its board of regents. A Jewish student even gave a commencement address, composed by Seixas, in Hebrew. In the 20th century, Columbia attracted numerous Jews with the relaxation of quotas, and was the first secular university to create a chair in Jewish history. Barnard College, Columbia’s all-women’s school, was itself founded by a Jewish woman, and today has a large number of Orthodox Jewish students.