The international team of archaeologists from the USA, Canada, Lithuania and Israel working at the site of the former Great Synagogue in Vilnius have located the central feature of the synagogue, the bima, as well as the outer back wall and part of the synagogue floor.
The bima is the central feature of synagogues. It is the platform upon which the rabbi reads the Torah and leads prayer, to which and from which the Torah scroll is taken from the Ark and returned to it.
The bima at the Great Synagogue site was discovered directly under the Soviet-era school built over the site in 1958.
The archaeological dig has been going on for several years and is currently being led by Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist Dr. Jon Seligman and Lithuanian archaeologist Justinas Račas. The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Goodwill Foundation are supporting the dig.
Earlier non-invasive archaeology revealed the presence of the mikve, or ritual bath, complex on the northern side of the site. Digging revealed multi-colored floor tiles and green oven tiles. It is believed to be a male mikveh based on historical documents.
The press and the public are invited to visit the site at 2:00 P.M. tomorrow, Thursday, July 2018, located at Vokiečių street no. 13A (formerly ulica Żydowska or Žydų gatvė no. 6) in Vilnius to get a better look at this unique site and the discoveries made there.
The archaeological group, Vilnius mayor Remigijaus Šimašius and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky are scheduled to attend the press conference, among others.
Contacts for further information:
Dr. Jon Seligman: email@example.com
Zenonas Baubonis and Justinas Račas: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monika Antanaitytė, LJC: telephone +37067240942, email@example.com