Over the past six years, a joint Israeli and Lithuanian archaeological team has made strides in uncovering the main synagogue in the city Jews called Vilna, along with the courtyard or shulhoyf that surrounded it, which, in typical East European fashion, included numerous smaller houses of prayer and study, along with other communal buildings. Livia Gershon report on their findings:
Excavating Vilnius’s Great 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.