In the activities it carries out, the Lithuanian Jewish Community constantly emphasizes the importance of human respect.

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Olameinu Summer Camp for Kids 2014

The first session of the Olameinu summer camp for kids at the Dubingiai-Litorina recreational area in Dubingiai, Lithuania, took place from June 30 to July 9, under the direction of camp director Dorin Rosenkov and a creative and active team.

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Lithuanian Jewish Community Calendar for 5775 (2014-2015) Celebrates Litvak Doctors  


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


Sukkot lunar eclipse is an omen, some say


Is some sort of cataclysm on its way? Should we even bother putting up sukkahs?

John Hagee, the San Antonio pastor who wrote the book “Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change,” would have us believe so.

Hagee predicts that because of a cycle of four lunar eclipses called a tetrad — two this year and next on Passover and Sukkot — that something big is about to happen, like the Rapture.

The eclipse will be seen throughout much of the world on Oct. 7 and 8 — the latter the eve of Sukkot. It will be visible throughout much of the United States on Oct. 8, but only in New Zealand on the actual holiday.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon moves directly behind the earth and into its shadow.

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On this festival Jewish households build a sukkah (pl. sukkot), a booth-like structure, where all meals are eaten, and people (usually the menfolk but not solely) even sleep there. The flimsy roof consists of leaves or branches, widely enough spaced so that one can see the stars at night, but close enough to provide shade during the day. It is considered “hidur mitzvah” – glorifying the mitzvah – if the sukkah is beautifully decorated, so of course this provides much entertainment, not to mention arts-and-crafts time, for the children to beautify their sukkah.
The sukkah is a commemoration of the flimsy huts that the Children of Israel dwelt in during their 40 years of wandering in the desert, with only the ענן הכבוד, the Cloud of Glory, to protect them by day and the עמוד האש, the Pillar of Fire, by night.
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Annual Memorial for the Jews of Svintsyán (Švenčionys): Small but Well Done


Defending History Staff

Svintsyán [Švenčionys] — Some fifty people gathered in the forest at midday today at the mass grave at Poligón, outside Švenčioneliai (Yiddish: Svintsyánke), in northeastern Lithuania, where around 8,000 Jews were murdered on 7 and 8 October 1941 after more than a week of barbaric incarceration and humiliation. The number includes nearly all the Jews of the county-seat town Švenčionys (Svintsyán) as well as the Jewish citizens of a number of towns in the region, including (Yiddish names first in the following list, followed by current Lithuanian or Belarusian names): Dugelíshik(Naujasis Daugėliškis), Duksht (Dūkštas), Haydútsetshik (Adutiškis), Ignalíne(Ignalina), Koltnyán (Kaltanėnai), Kaméleshik (Kimelishki, Belarus), Lingmyán(Linkmenys), Líntep (Lyntupy, Belarus), Maligán (Mielagėnai), Nementshín(Nemenčinė), Podbródzh (Pabradė), Stayátseshik (Stajotiškės), and Svintsyánke (orNay-Svintsyán — Švenčionėliai).

Misha (Meyshke) Shapiro (at left), head of a region’s tiny remnant Jewish community, chairs the annual commemoration in the forest at a mass grave where 8,000 Jews were killed in two days in October of 1941.

Each year, the numbers of those attending the event, held annually on the first Sunday of October, has been decreasing. Still it is qualitatively perhaps one of the most well-executed memorials in the country because of a policy in force for many yearsnow (since an untoward confrontation between Holocaust survivors from Israel and local government officials in the 1990s when the latter tried to utilize the tragedy for current nationalist agendas). The successful policy is to keep politics and nationalism well out of it. Speakers with very diverse opinions do not bring in current burning debates about Holocaust history, the children from local schools come in civilian clothing rather than national costume, and no anthems are played or political statements made.

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Continuity of Memory in Each Generation


October 8, 2014


 Sculptor, metal fabricator, painter and professor at the Telšiai (Telz) branch of the Vilnius Art Academy Romualdas Inčirauskas could truly be called a guardian of memory and tolerance activist. Radvilė Rimgailaitė, a volunteer from the Bagel Shop project to encourage tolerance, spoke with the artist about his work, traces of the history of Jews and Žemaitijans in Telšiai and the importance of communication between individuals.

How did it happen that you work mainly in Telšiai and that your work focuses so much on the history of Jews and Žemaitijans?

 I was born in Anykščiai in 1950 and fnished high school there. I came to Telšiai to study art. Later after studes in Tallinn I returned to Telšiai. And permanently. I work as a teacher at the Telšiai branch of the Vilnius Art Academy. So I have been in this city for all of my conscious life. The field of my art coincides with study of the living environment. The tribute to the history of Žemaitija [historical Samogitia] is completely understandable. Only later did I learn that Telšiai was so important to Jewish culture as a religious and cultural center. Recently, especially for the 600-year anniversary of the adoption of Christianity by the Žemaitijans, many new works and symbols of historical memory have been created in Telšiai. This includes my contribution as well. I think this background has served to demonstrate the lack of sufficient attention to the fate of the Jewish legacy and heritage. Therefore I as an artist feel the pangs of conscience and the duty to celebrate the Jewish cultural and religious heritage, undeservedly forgotten but very significant for the future. read more