Tsvi Hirsh Neviazher kloiz in Kaunas


The majority of extant Jewish prayer house buildings in Kaunas are kloiz buildings, one of such is Tsvi Hirsh Neviazher kloiz building erected in 1851. However, this kloiz is much different from the rest. First of all, it is only one of three extant Jewish prayer house buildings in Lithuania in the style of the Romanticism era. And secondly, stories of its establisher Neviazher and his altruism are famous between religious Jewish diaspora all over the world.

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In various memoirs, Tsvi Hirsh Neviazher is described as Kaunas Jewish merchant and active society, patron, and guardian angel of Kaunas Jewish community. In the middle of the 19th century, he was one of the main figures who represented Jewish community interests in Kaunas city.  Constant charity opened the home of Neviazher to each suffering member of the local Jewish community. He had so many visitors at his house, that he decided to build a kloiz – where everyone could meet him, but also that the place would serve as a prayer house. Eventually, as Neviazher grew older, he gave away the rights to his business to the family members and moved into kloiz. There he spent his last years praying and reading Torah.


Today the extant kloiz building stands on the street of the famous creator of Esperanto language – Ludwik Zamenhof, who lived in Lithuanian territory for a while (L. Zamenhofas str. 7). This kloiz from the middle of the 19th century successfully survived the Second world war, so when the Soviets reoccupied Lithuanian they took it over and established a restaurant in this building. After a while, the building was reorganized to one of the departments of Kaunas city museum. After Lithuania was already re-established as an independent country, in 2003 private restoration of this building has been carried out. After this restoration, the building has been turned into a Family crisis institute and the main prayer hall of the kloiz was used as a conference hall.


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