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.