On Friday morning, the eve of the Lithuanian Shabbos, influential Rabbi Mordechai Neugroschel made a heartfelt appeal to Lithuanian authorities, to permit the restoration of the Snipiskes Jewish cemetery.
The plea was made on behalf of over 150-senior rabbinical leaders from across the globe, all of whom had converged in Vilnius. The unique meeting of international Jewish communities was conducted under the auspices of Dirshu. It was seen as an opportunity for Jewish leaders to share their sentiments, regarding the cemetery which lies in ruins.
Tens of Jewish organizations have rallied to appeal to authorities to permit restoration of the cemetery. A plan by the government to build a conference center on the graves of the deceased, has been frozen.
Jewish organizations believe that proper restoration of the cemetery will provide a significant boost to heritage tourism, as is the case in the Hungary, Poland, the Ukraine and Prague.
Rabbi Neugroshal said that a Jewish cemetery is known as a "beis hachaim", a house of the living, because that is exactly what it is: a place where the Jewish community can prayer and pay their respects for the souls of the living and the deceased.
International Jewish groups are urging the Lithuanian government to facilitate restoration according to Jewish law. Activists believe that this will be beneficial for the Jewish and Lithuanian communities.
The future of the Snipiskes Jewish cemetery is currently under consideration, by the Lithuanian government.