In the 19th century there were five working synagogues in Panevėžys and a strong and widely-celebrated Jewish community. The Rabbi Eliyahu David Rabinowitz-Teomim, also known by the acronym ADeReT, lived and worked in Panevėžys from 1871 to 1891 and was the head of the community. He later served as the rabbi of Mir in what is now Belarus, and went on to lead the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem.
His great-grandson Rabbi Reuven Yeshua Koehn paid a visit to the Panevėžys last week and presented a portrait of his famous great-grandfather as a gift to the Panevėžys Jewish Community. He also met with the mayor of the city and presented a project currently being conducted in Israel to build a Litvak Heritage Center. The Center’s displays will include various Lithuanian shtetls and cities including Panevėžys.
Rabbi Koehn also visited the local regional history museum. Students from his yeshiva are expected to visit Panevėžys in late April.