Lithuania: Jewish Immigration/Vilna Shul Timeline

1649 Solomon Frankel is first Jew to arrive in Boston. Following a trade dispute, he is banished from the Colonies by the Puritan leadership.

1654 Jews from Spain and Portugal begin arriving in America.

1730 First American synagogue – Shearith Israel- Built in New York City.

1763 Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island is completed.

1782 Moses Micheal Hays settles in Boston; helps found the First National Bank, Grand Lodge of Masons, Boston Marine Society and other insitutions.

1821 Jews granded full rights of citizenship in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1840 First German Jews begin arriving in Boston.

1844 First Jews are permitted to be buried in Massachusetts.

1852 Boston’s first Congregation – Ohabei Shalom- constucts a synagogue in the South End. Boston has less than 50 Jewish families.

1880 Eastern European Jews begin arring in Boston en masse. First they settle in the North and South Ends, and at the turn of the century, the West End.

1893 Jews from Vilna, Lituania form a “llandsmanshaft,” an informal gathering place for worship, in the West End.

1903 The Vilna congregation is incorporated and begins to hold worship services. The Congregation operates out of apartments until (1906) it purchases the then defunct Twelfth Baptist Church at 45 Phillips Street.

1915 City of Boston Purchases the building at 45 Phillips Street for use as a school.

1915-20 The Congregation operates out of 27 Anderson Street. In 1919, it purchases property at 14-18 Phillips Street from the heirs of Joshua Bennett, demolishes existing structures and begins construction of the Vilna Shul which was completed in 1920.

1985 Last remaining member of the Vilna Congregation petions the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to dissove the Congegation. The doors are closed.

1995 Vilna Center Acquires the Vilna Shul.