Posts Tagged ‘Lithuania’


Tales of @TheKotel – Part 1

   Posted by: Alon   in Blog

Not even 2 weeks have gone by since @TheKotel was launched. There’s still much work to be done, including many improvements to the site and of course – reaching the masses and making the service more widespread.

Though the service hasn’t been operating for long,  I have already received a few dozen prayers. It feels good to give people this service, and I’ll be honest – it gives me some satisfaction. What’s more, I’ve been contacted by some very interesting people, with interesting stories and goals, and it’s those people who inspire me to keep going, though I spend too many hours a day working on this project.

I wanted to share with you the stories of these people, so I started writing this blog. Hope you find the blog interesting and inspirational.

The first person I’d like to introduce is Wyman Brent (@jewishlibrary). He is a remarkable person, and though he is what we might affectionately call a “goy”, he is fascinated with Jewish culture. He went all the way from San-Diego to Vilnius, Lithuania with a very ambitious goal in mind: to restore the city’s rich Jewish culture that was wiped out during WWII. Why is he doing it? He revealed his motives  in an interview to The Baltic Times:

“I’m fascinated with Jewish culture. I fell in love with Lithuania when I went there the first time in 1994. So it was kind of like, I love libraries, I love Jewish culture and I love Lithuania, so let me put this all together into this Jewish library.”

He aims to open a public library with 100k books in English about the Jewish culture, hoping to once again make Vilnius “The Jerusalem of the North”.
As one could expect, he needs help achieving this noble goal. He wrote me an email with details:

What I would most like is for readers especially in Israel or the US to gather books, CDs, and DVDs for the library.  The best is if say someone in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem had a central storage area where people could send material.  Then after a certain amount of items were gathered, then someone could send them to Vilna.  It is always less expensive per item if everything is shipped at once.  I would love to see someone do the same in New York City.

The last two lines of that email enchanted me even further:

The only way that the library can grow is by people everywhere helping out.  I am only one man and I am as rich as Tevye.  It took thousands and thousands of people to destroy Jewish culture in Lithuania.  It will take more than just one person to restore the culture which was lost.

Please contact him on Twitter or email and see how you can help.

For more information about Brent and his undertaking I recommend reading The Baltic Times article (link) and also an article on The Jewish Press (link). There’s a lot more material on the Vilnius Jewish Library blog (link).

So far for the first blog post. Next time – how one young lady from NY is using Twitter to fight for Gilad Shalit.