Vilnius, June 5 BNS — On Friday the Government House in Vilnius hosted an awards ceremony by the Lithuanian Jewish Community for fostering tolerance in Lithuania. The awards are presented to six people or organizations.
Historian Lara Lempertienė was recognized for her work in passing on the Jewish cultural legacy to future generations and Žana Skudovičienė, long-time coordinator of LJC Social Center programs, received the award for her lifelong devotion to her work.
Museum specialist Monika Žąsytienė received the distinction for her work in preserving historical memory and the heritage of ethnic minorities, and the Jewish song-and-dance ensemble Fayerlakh were awarded for their enduring promotion of Yiddish culture in Lithuania and abroad.
Lithuanian Jewish Association president Amit Belaitė was recognized for her social activities and initiative in bringing together Jewish young people. Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum director and writer Markas Zingeris received the award for portraying Jewish identity in literary works and museum exhibits, the Lithuanian Government reported.
“I am certain that one of the essential principles of democracy is tolerance for a different ethnicity, individual and idea. Tolerance has always been one of the most important foundations for peaceful coexistence. Today it is important as never before, when our neighbors are living through the most painful moments of the testing of freedom and democracy,” Lithuanian prime minister Algirdas Butkevičius said at the ceremony.
He underlined it is the duty of every person to do away with anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism in their lives.
Nominations of candidates for the awards began in April and a special commission selected six winners from the twenty candidates.
The public organization Beigelių krautuvėlė, or Bagel Shop, a project of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, granted the awards as part of its program to encourage tolerance and stop the spread of anti-Semitism and hate. The first Bagel Shop awards ceremony was held in 2014.