News 2020 designated as the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania By Evaldas Posted on 2018 May 11 2 min read 0 706 Having regard to the fact that 2020 will mark 300 years since the birth of Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, an outstanding Lithuanian rabbi and the Litvak Misnagdim religious leader, known as the Vilna Gaon, the Seimas has designated 2020 as the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania. The respective Resolution of the Seimas was passed unanimously, with 92 votes in favour. In the Resolution, the Seimas underlines that Jews have been an integral part of the Lithuanian society since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Jewish community has made a significant contribution to the development of Lithuania’s statehood, its history, culture and science. The Resolution goes on to call for cherishing the history of Lithuanian Jews, which goes back 700 years, as an integral part of the history of Lithuania as well as for the preservation and continuity of the links between the Lithuanian state, on the one hand, and Jews and people of Jewish origin inside Lithuania and their diaspora abroad, on the other. The Seimas called on the Government to set up a dedicated commission to draft a plan for marking the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania by 1 February 2019 and to earmark budget funds for its implementation.