Last afternoon and evening in Riga

About half of the people on our tour elected to take the Jewish history tour of Riga yesterday afternoon. We were taken to just a few sites- The Jewish Cultural Center which was opened for our walk-through– rather a dull and dark place with some exhibitions. It’s difficult to see that it is used for events in the community whose current Jewish population is de minimus and headed up by a Chabad Rabbi. The many synagogues that used to be here before the war are no longer standing. Only one remains and it is in use. It remained intact because it sits next to St. Peters Church, and to destroy it would have meant the church would have been demolished too. We saw the synagogue only from the outside– it was Saturday and it was closed (— that really didn’t make any sense to me.) We also saw several memorial sites erected in the forest where 25,000 Jews were marched to and executed- all on 2 separate days. The larger of the monuments was in memory of the righteous gentiles who lost their lives trying to save Jews. Our tour guide was not nearly as knowledgeable nor as warm and engaging as our guide in Vilnius (Justina). It was a rather dispassionate tour.

NOTE: Justina has followed our blog and she has corrected some of the statistics I posted earlier. Read below:

You gave me this blog adress at the end of our tour and since then I am following it ๐Ÿ˜‰ it is nice to see that you are having a good time! I have just read your post about Jewish Vilnius. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Like. But you have mixed some numbers ๐Ÿ˜‰ there are about 5000 Jews in Lithuania today, about 3000 live in Vilnius and about 1500 of them are religious. There were about 100 synagougues inVilnius before the war and 60 000 Jews made about 30% of the population in Vilnius. I am looking foward to read about your Jewish tour in Riga. Have a good trip! Justina