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Guarding Beacon Hill

A poetic homage to the Vilna Shul and Jewish Boston.

By Jewish Arts Collaborative

Published Jun 24, 2024



This Curation is part of Community Creative Fellowship.

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During her 2024 Community Creative Fellowship, poet Deborah Leipziger wrote in residence at the Vilna Shul.  In reflecting upon the experience, Deborah wrote Shomer.


From on high

I guard

the Beloved City.

I guard

your shelter

your dwelling place

your imagined future.

No one can see me here.

So close to the sky.


I am deeply grateful to JArts and CJP for the opportunity to be a Community Creative Fellow. Thank you to the Vilna Shul for hosting and providing me with a place to write.  I am especially grateful to Laura Mandel for her vision, enthusiasm, and joie de vivre during this painful time in Jewish History. 

Thank you, Rabbi Elyse Winick, for your support and enthusiasm. The Vilna has been an artistic home and sanctuary. What a joy it has been to learn and perform alongside the inspiring artists: Lily Henley, Alex Salsberg, and Yuval Gur. Thank you Tova Speter and Rabbi Jen Gubitz for teaching and inspiring us.  

I am grateful to my students at the Vilna who inspired me with their commitment to write and learn including Judy Bolton-Fasman, Carol Mostow, Giti Ganjei, Tamar Yehoshua, Arnold Clayton, Steven Sadow, Ann Bookman, Debra David, John Bowen, Tiferet Andriolli, Tzlil Kahan, Yvette Fernandes, and Tania Erlij.    


JArts’ mission is to curate, celebrate, and build community around the diverse world of Jewish arts, culture, and creative expression. Our vision is of a more connected, engaged, and tolerant world inspired by Jewish arts and culture.


  • 1.

    This poem Shomer was written about the Vilna Shul which physically sits atop the iconic Boston Beacon Hill – but the concept of guarding takes the mind in many directions. What does this poem evoke for you?

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