Mission: Lithuanian Jewish Citizens. Siberia

Mission: Lithuanian Jewish Citizens. Siberia

On December 4 the Lithuanian Jewish Community hosted a meeting/lecture/discussion and exhibition opening called “Mission: Lithuanian Jewish Citizens. Siberia” dedicated to discussing the deportations from Lithuania in June of 1941. Usually the official accounts of the deportations seem to suppress the multi-ethnic composition of deportees and the diversity of their positions and beliefs. The only thing uniting all the deportees was the fact they were considered undesirable by the new occupational regime.

The event was organized by the Vilnius Jewish Public Library and the Jakovas Bunka welfare and support fund. The photographic exhibition contained pictures of graves in Siberia, including those of Jewish, Polish, Russian and Lithuanian deportees. The photos came from the collections of the Lithuanian National Library, the Center for the Research of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania, the photographer Gintautas Alekna and Dalia Kazlauskienė, the widow of photographer Juozas Kazlauskas. The project received support from the Department of Ethnic Minorities under the Lithuanian Government.

LJC board member Daumantas Levas Todesas, Vilnius Jewish Public Library director Žilvinas Beliauskas and Department of Ethnic Minorities director Dr. Vida Montvydaitė spoke to the topic at the event.

Film: The Called — Judaism in Lithuania

Film: The Called — Judaism in Lithuania

“Pašauktieji” [“The Called”] is a set of six documentaries about religious faiths in Lithuania by the Vilniaus Medija group. The premiere of the third documentary film about Judaism in Lithuania “Juaidzmas Lietuvoje” [“Judaism in Lithuania”] coincides with the 115th anniversary of the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius.

Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Provides Best Education and Healthy Atmosphere

Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Provides Best Education and Healthy Atmosphere

excerpted from an article by Modesta Gaučaitė, LRT.lt

As a teachers’ strike expands across Lithuania with the recent removal of the minister of education, grabbing the headlines, the magazine Reitingai [Ratings] has published their ratings of Lithuanian schools and universities. The gymnasia were categorized according to which subject they specialized in and in which subjects their students did best. The magazine also rated schools for what they called greatest added value and grouped cities and towns according to student achievement.

The authors explained “added value” was being assessed for the first time, meaning that not only does a given school demonstrate high academic achievement, but also is able to provide for its students a good atmosphere, good interpersonal relations and the feeling of success in studies to the individual student.

“As the study shows, there are only 21 such schools out of 1,200. The majority of the schools in the country are able either to achieve good academic results or provide an exceptionally good atmosphere while the students’ achievements are tragic. Only these gymnasia were able to combine both things:

“1. The Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium;
“2. The Gabija Gymnasium in Vilnius;
“3. … [for a total of eight schools listed]”

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is so proud of the Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium! We know the tremendous achievements there are due to the diligent and sensitive leadership of Miša Jakobas and all the teachers who are so devoted and loving to the students. Great work!

Full text in Lithuanian available here.

Birthday Party Invitation

You are invited to come celebrate the 115th anniversary of the opening of the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius at 2:00 P.M. on December 16 at the synagogue, located at Pylimo street no. 39. The celebration is to include a concert by the Vilnius Chamber Orchestra conducted by Donatas Katkus, birthday greetings and a buffet.

International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists Mark 70th Anniversary of Genocide Convention

Rafael Lemkin, the Jewish lawyer who at the end of World War II coined the term “genocide” and brought it to global awareness, understood that atrocities are all the more grievous when based upon race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. The systematic extermination of Jews in the Holocaust was the predominant event that led Lemkin to this understanding, but he was also motivated by other atrocities he had witnessed during his lifetime.

The world commemorates this week the 70th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It was designed to set in stone the well-known proclamation “never again”. The Genocide Convention was passed by the UN on December 9, 1948 and has been ratified to date by approximately 150 states. The Genocide Convention classifies genocide as an international crime and provides that all member states must prevent and punish genocide, its incitement, and any attempt to commit genocide. Israel ratified the treaty in 1950 and enacted the Crime of Genocide (Prevention and Punishment) Law that provides Israel with universal jurisdiction over this crime. Genocide is customarily referred to as “the crime of crimes” because it seeks to wipe out an entire group of people based upon nationality, ethnicity, race or religion. All states are called upon to prevent and punish the perpetrators.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The Polifonija music auditorium hosted a concert December 3 held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community.

Most of our current members responded 30 years ago to an invitation published in the newspaper Šiaulių naujienos to attend a meeting of the Sąjūdis initiative group [Lithuanian independence movement] at the Planning Institute. About 100 Jewish residents of Šiauliai attended and the Šiauliai Jewish community was reconstituted, including the Jews of the region and formally called the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community, the successor organization to the formerly large Šiauliai City Jewish Community which ceased functioning in 1941.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community chairman Naumas Gleizeris began the evening by welcoming and greeting the audience on Hanukkah and the 30th birthday of the organization. He thanked all guests for spending the evening with Community members.

Linas Adomaitis: Kaunas is Full of Culture, Full of Intelligence


Virginija Vitkienė next to Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas

Culture is a wide open door. It is a journey to one’s self. It is also a person’s relationship with another person. This week the team of “Kaunas, Cultural Capital of Europe 2022” invited residents of the city and region of Kaunas, friends and partners to get to know the city better during an open-door day. “This is not the first but the fourth year of the team. For two years we prepared, and for the other two we acted,” Kaunas 2022 director Virginija Vitkienė said. Several weeks ago Kaunas residents visited Brussels where they met with representatives of the European Commission supervising and assessing the activities of the European cultural capitals. Vitkienė said this was the first check-up on their activities and there will be three in total in the run-up to 2022.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

New Book about Jewish Street in Vilnius

New Book about Jewish Street in Vilnius

A new book about Jewish Street in Vilnius by Aelita Ambrulevičiūtė, Gintė Konstantinavičiūtė and Giedrė Polkaitė-Petkevičienė was launched at the Paviljonas Book Weekend in Vilnius. “Prabilę namai. Žydų gatvės kasdienybė XIX-XX a. (iki 1940 m.)” [with the English subtitle/translation “Houses That Talk: Everyday Life in Žydų Street in the 19th-20th Century (up to 1940)” provided below the Lithuanian title on the cover] was published by the Aukso žuvys publishing house and comprises a kind of guide to the street, detailing the Great Synagogue, the Strashun Library, the house of the Vilna Gaon and the market and restaurants which operated there.

Lithuanian historian Aureljus Gieda presented the book and said it contains 166 illustrations of life in 14 buildings, 5 of which survive. He said the book has an index of names and extensive footnotes.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Hanukkah at the Lithuanian President’s Office

Hanukkah at the Lithuanian President’s Office

The Lithuanian President’s Office held a ceremony to light the fourth Hanukkah candle with the participation of Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky. The audience included many honored guests.

Thank You!

Dear readers,

Thank you to everyone who donated to make sure a family in need was able to buy a washing machine much needed for their three young children! You’ve stepped up once again and made a real difference! The Family Services Department of the Social Programs Department of the Lithuanian Jewish Community received a hand-written thank-you note from the mother expressing her deep gratitude to all who came to their aid in time of need.

Evening of Poetry and Painting

The Raimondas Savickas Picture Gallery invites you to an evening of poetry and painting at the gallery, located at Basanavičiaus street no. 11 in Vilnius, at 6:00 P.M. on Friday, December 7. Rūta Eidukaitytė will sing and play guitar as well.

Condolences

The Lithuanian Jewish Community notes with deep sadness the death of Anatolij Krivulin after a protracted battle with illness on Friday, November 30, 2018. He was born August 4, 1959, and is survived by his wife Maria, daughter Aleksandra and son Konstantin. Krivulin was the manager of the Pitarija Fire Place Israeli restaurant located near the Jewish cemetery in Šnipiškės, a neighborhood of Vilnius. Our deepest condolences to his many friends and family members. He was buried at the Jewish cemetery on Sudervės road in Vilnius on Saturday evening.

Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Central Vilnius

A giant menorah has again appeared in the center of Vilnius in celebration of Hanukkah. City mayor Remigijus Šimašius and the Jewish community together ushered in the eight-day Jewish holiday on December 3. The menorah has appeared in central Vilnius for 25 years in a row now.

The mayor said: “The start of Hanukkah this year has coincided symbolically with the beginning of the magical Christmas of Vilnius, we are lighting the city’s main Christmas tree and the menorah at almost the same time. This holiday of sharing and light makes Vilnius brighter and cozier, and invites the communities of the world to come visit the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Hanukkah inspires us to never be afraid of fighting for what’s right and for the light, and to never give up. I greet the Jewish community on this the greatest of holidays and say thank-you that you are with us. Happy Hanukkah!” For four years now the mayor has been invited to light the first Hanukkah light at the giant menorah on Vincas Kudirka Square in Vilnius.

First Meeting of Parenting Skills Program at LJC Social Programs Department

First Meeting of Parenting Skills Program at LJC Social Programs Department

We are happy to announce that on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah the first meeting of parents took place in the Parenting Skills Program being conducted by the Social Programs Department of the Lithuanian Jewish Community under the program to support Jewish families. Many of the parents of teenagers following the meeting expressed relief that there is advice available for solving their problems in child-rearing.

The group for practicing parenting skills is based on the ideas of the authors of individual psychology. The founder of individual psychology was Alfred Adler (1870-1937). Parents in the LJC program meet and work in a group, share their experience, check that against theoretical advice for raising children and look for common answers to their problems.

Due to the large interest expressed by parents in the program, next year the LJC Social Programs Department is planning to offer a parenting skills program for parents raising children of different ages.

Happy Hanukkah from the Social Programs Department!