Lithuania mints first-ever EU coin with Hebrew letters, honoring Vilnius scholar

JTA — The Bank of Lithuania minted the first euro piece of currency containing Hebrew letters.

The 10-euro coin was minted on Tuesday and is a limited-edition commemorative collector’s item celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Vilna Gaon, the 18th-century rabbinical luminary Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, who lived and died in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

The heads side of the coin features the Hebrew letter shin, whose value according to the gematria alphanumeric code is 300, followed by the acronym in Hebrew of Gaon Rabbi Elijah. The tails’ rim reads in Hebrew: “The year of the Vilna Gaon and the history of the Jews of Lithuania.”

The commemoration of individual people is very rare on bank notes and coins of the European Union, partly because of the political sensitivity in a political union made up of former foes.

An artist’s depiction of the Vilna Gaon (Public Domain)

Earlier this month, a mural of the late Israeli poet Leah Goldberg, who grew up in Kaunas, Lithuania was unveiled there along with other notable individuals connected to the city ahead of its crowning as Cultural Capital of Europe in 2022.

Separately, a monument for Holocaust victims that was smashed and knocked over in Kaunas was restored on October 9, the news site reported.

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