"JONISKIS (John's Town)" Joniskis by Grazina

Joniskis Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 21 photos

"WHITE" Synagogue

The preservation of Joniskis synagogues - in the North of Lithuania there is a small town called Jonishkis (John's Town). In the XIX century Jews constitued 51% of the town's pop.
Today only a complex of synagogues reminds us about that period. There are two synagogues in the centre of the town.

Synagogues side by side.

In 1823 the white synagogues was built, in 1865 the Red synagogue was built next to the one. Now days there's not any Jewish community in Jonshkis therefore these prayer house aren't used any longer so they are collapsing and derelict.

View from Grazina's kitchen window.

We pulled into this town (Joniskis) in the early evening, so I did get a chance to see it before the sun went down. I was amazed at the fact that I did some research on this town before leaving the U.S.A. In the research I found that it was a thriving Jewish town before WW2....

"A Jewish City"
In year 1880 the total population 1500 with 925 Jews.

In 1923...4141 total population with 700 Jews.

In 1939...5132 total population with 1200 Jews.

And the more surprising fact is that Grazina lived in this town before she set off to higher education in Vilnius University. The morning of 9/11/03, I looked out the kitchen window and noticed men working on the roof of this old building, I then asked Grazina who was in the kitchen as well "what's that building those men are working on?" She then said, "GUESS". My answer was "a synagogue?!?! She says "YES". It then hit me that I know a little of this town of hers from my research...which made the hair on my back standup because I didn't know this was her childhood turf.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The Slow motion of this town remind me of my town back home in Page.
  • Cons:For being in September it was very COLD, so bring you jackets and heavy shirts.
  • In a nutshell:The people were al pleasant and pretty lay back. I did get a lot of stares because I was the only brown person there.
  • Last visit to Joniskis: Sep 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • ateikrytoj's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2006 at 6:49 PM

    Dear Grazina, it;s always interesting to see my native town with someone else's eyes. Thank you for sharing your experience. I believe there are still unexplored by you places in Joniskis...come again.


“Over the river and through the woods across the canyon up the mountain past the switchbacks..what a journey I've been on”

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