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New York Board of Rabbis urges Lithuanian President to prevent desecration of cemetery

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik makes urgent appeal

Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik penned an eleventh hour letter to the President of Lithuania urging the President to terminate the government's plan to develop a conference center on a Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, Cemetery.

Rabbi Potasnik joins hundreds of Rabbis and Jewish communities from across the globe who have made an appeal to the government not to go ahead with the desecration of a Jewish Cemetery.

In a parallel action a Lithuanian court filing by over 150 plaintiffs, descendents of the deceased who are buried in the cemetery has been postponed until November 24, 2020. The court action is an attempt to prevent the desecration on the cemetery on which more than 50,000 Jewish souls rest.


Honorable President Gitanas Nauséda,

The New York Board of Rabbis, established in 1881, serves as the primary forum for rabbis

serving congregations, organizations, chaplaincies, communal service agencies, and schools.

Our Mission begins with the statement that we strive to “Work for the communal good of the

Jewish people”, and it is keeping with this goal that we write.

The Dignity of the Dead and the Sanctity of Cemeteries are cardinal beliefs of the jewish people; any incursion, digging, any excavation in a Jewish cemetery is a transgression which defiles it.

The Snipiskes Jewish cemetery in Vilnius houses the remains of renowned scholars, the family of the Gaon, ancestors of many congregants whom our member rabbis serve, and thousands of other pious Jews. The cemetery is sacred, and should remain untouched. Nobody has the right to sanction any disturbance to the integrity of this cemetery.

The proposed Sports Palace project will desecrate the cemetery and profane the dead, and in the name of all member Rabbis of our organization we ask respectfully but unequivocally that all activity in this consecrated domain cease.


Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Executive Vice President

NY Board of Rabbis letter to the Lithuanian President

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