About The Vilna Shul

Learning Opportunities

Open and accessible to all

As soon as people find out that there is a little historic synagogue on Beacon Hill, they begin to learn something new.

Many people do not realize that just blocks away from the homes of some of Boston’s wealthiest residents are the former tenements of some of its poorest. Once deemed an undesirable neighborhood, Jewish immigrants lived, worked and prayed throughout this neighborhood that once included the north slope of Beacon Hill and the old West End.

A Lithuanian Jewish immigrant congregation that called itself Anshei Vilner (the people of Vilnius), placed the cornerstone for a little synagogue at 18 Phillips Street on Beacon Hill in 1919. Although the last member of Anshei Vilner Congregation left the building in 1985, the synagogue, better known as the Vilna Shul, is full of activity again. The Vilna is now a destination and a place of learning for anyone interested in Jewish history, culture and spirituality. It is a must-see historic site for visitors to Boston and a unique community venue for concerts, speakers, films and Jewish life cycle events.

The Vilna Shul is an ideal place to learn about Jewish history and culture for ages twelve and up. Discussion subjects can range from European pre-war Jewish life to architecture, American Jewish history, synagogue construction, museum studies and local history. For younger audiences, please call Jessica at the number below to discuss how the Vilna can help your children learn.

Our programs have a lasting impact on every student who walks through the Vilna's doors.  We inspire critical thinking, new research initiatives, cross-cultural communication, and creative endeavors. Most recently students from the Stephen F. Austin High School's Academy of Global Studies used their time at the Vilna to create an interactive website all about Jewish Boston. You can check out their work here and their group shot above. (From left to right: Angelica Calderon, Rachel Hart, Oliver Davis, Barbara Laughlin, Matthew Walls, and Tommy Matson.) Thank you, Austin!  If you have a picture or story to share about your visit to the Vilna let us know at info@vilnashul.org

To schedule group tours of 5 or more please call or email us at (617) 523-2324 or info@vilnashul.org. Please let us know the ages of your group members as well as any specific needs your group may have. A suggested donation of $5 per adult and $3 per student twelve and under is appreciated, but not required.