- Welcome to all my fellow Keidaners. Thanks for making the effort to
get on the relocated email list. I'm sorry for the inconvenience,
but I think we should be able to carry on here.
In fact there are some advantages to the current hosting
arrangement; for instance, it's possible to post photographs as well
as messages. If you click over on "Photos" to the left of the page,
you'll see a couple I just recently received. Ellen Cassedy of
Takoma Park, Md. spent part of last summer studying Yiddish in
Vilnius, and while in Lithuania she made a visit to Keidan, where
she snapped these pictures of the old synagogue complex. As you can
see, the Lithuanians have done some work on the buildings, which
they now use as an exhibition hall and an art school. According to
Ellen, they have historical material on display there, but, sadly,
have done very little to highlight or explain the town's past as a
predominantly Jewish community.
To quote from Ellen's note:
"The "winter synagogue" has been renovated, inside and out. Outside
is a line of wooden statures in honor of potters, woodworkers, and
something about books -- Mikolas Dauksa? Danksa? Very Christian-
looking. Inside, a grand piano near where the ark would have been.
On the ark wall, a digitized picture, a melange of Jewish things.
On the walls, a photo exhibit, "Before and After" pix taken from the
exact same spot, many years apart. NO sign of Jews, no Yiddish.
One old photo taken by M. Ioffe."
Ellen also forwarded the name and contact info for someone connected
to the current Kedainiai museum administration. I hope to contact
that person and hopefully will learn more about what's going on over
there, which I'll dutifully pass on.
Meanwhile, if anyone would like to open a discussion about any
aspect of Keidan, past or present, please feel free. The floor is
All the best,
I think that the Synagogue's photo is of the "Shiva Kru'im"
synagogue, which wasn't the main one in Keidan, but one of many
others there. This one was really located in the "Shul-hoif".
If I don't have a mistake, Andy told us few years ago that
the "museum" is intended to be located in the Beis-Midrash, so I was
really surprised that the Lithuanians chose the nearby synagogue for
I wonder what are their plans for the Beis-Midrash, that according to
the photo, is completely renewed.
- Shalom Ben-Tsion, and thanks for your note.
The pictures from Ellen Cassedy are both from the former 'shulhoyf' -
- the main complex of religious buildings that were at the core of
Jewish Keidan. I think the one with the statues was the 'groyse
shul', also known as the 'kalte shul' because it was not heated and
was thus used only in the warmer months. My grandfather's story
about Simchas Torah describes the building in great detail, so I
guess they used it until after the High Holidays. The other building
is the 'bes medresh' or study house -- which was also a synagogue,
but was that also called the 'shiva kru'im'? I had thought that was
the name of one of the smaller 'shtiblekh' used by such minyans as
the gravediggers, tailors or former soldiers from the Czar's army.
Also, how would you translate 'shiva kru'im' into English? Is it
Seven Guests? And do you know the origin of that name? Is it a
reference to something in the Bible, or Talmud?