For a number of years now the Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) have produced Jewish calendars distributed free to community members and friends during the Jewish New Year season. Each edition of the calendar features a central theme. This year, 5775, the theme chosen was Lithuanian Jewish contributions to medicine. The choice was not random.
Over the past five or ten years a number of Lithuanian cultural figures have rediscovered the fact that a beloved literary character was based on a real Jewish man who lived and worked in Vilna. Korney Chukovsky's stories centered around the figure of Dr. Aibolit (Russian, pronounced áy-balít for ‘Ay, it hurts!’), called Daktaras Aiskauda in Lithuanian (Aiskauda also means ‘Ay, it hurts!’ in Lithuanian), and were roughly modeled on the character of his friend Tsemakh Shabad (1864-1935), the renowned Vilna children's doctor and all-around humanitarian and cultural leader. read more