First Hanukkah Light

Come light the first Hanukkah candle together with us!

December 12:

5 o’clock, Vincas Kudirka Square, Vilnius

6 o’clock, Choral Synagogue, Vilnius

We’ll celebrate Hanukkah with the Rakija Klezmer Orkestar!

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry Issues Advisory to Citizens in Israel

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has issued a travel advisory calling on citizens to remain alert to possible terror attacks and security incidents in the Jerusalem Old Town and East Jerusalem.

The advisory recommended Lithuanian citizens in Jerusalem, and specifically in the Old Town and eastern section of the city, including Ras al-Amud, At-Tur/Mount of Olives, Wadi al-Joz and Silwan, take special measures for their personal safety and avoid public transport.

The ministry recommended Lithuanians avoid demonstrations and large crowds of people, follow local media, follow instructions by local government institutions and avoid travel in Gaza. The advisory also cautioned against travel to areas along the Syrian and Lebanese border, the Golan Heights and specifically the area of Shebaa Farms and Ghaijar.

Lithuanians in Israel were invited to register with the Foreign Ministry at and/or to get the telephone app “Keliauk saugiai” [Travel Safely], at for Apple phones and for Android operating systems.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry also maintains a twenty-four hour hotline for emergencies at+370 5 236 2444 in Lithuania, and travellers may also send an e-mail to to request help. The Lithuanian embassy in Israel can be reached at+972 3 6958 685 or by e-mail at

Birthday Party and Award for Daumantas Todesas at the LJC

The Lithuanian Jewish Community celebrated Daumantas Lveas Todesas’s 70th birthday this week and the director of the Lithuanian Department of Ethnic Minorities presented him an achievement award at the party.

Department of Ethnic Minorities director Vida Montvydaitė personally awarded him a golden badge of honor called the For Merit award in recognition of Todesas’s life-long dedication to improving society and to preserving ethnic culture and identity.

Lebn zolstu biz hundert un tsvantsik yor! Mazl tov!

Under the White Star

Judita Letaitė and Marianna Slobodeniuok will perform a concert called Under the White Star on Thursday, December 7, at 6:00 P.M. at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. Admission is free.

Gešer Club Invites Seniors to Come Celebrate Hanukkah

The Gešer Club will hold a holiday meal with a concert and great company at 7:00 P.M. on December 12 at the Draugai restaurant located at Vilniaus street no. 4 in Vilnius. Tickets cost 20 euros. To register contact Žana Skudovičienė,, +370 678 81514. Tickets are available from Irina Slucker, +370 612 40875, in room 306 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius, from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. on December 8.

Come Celebrate Hanukkah at the Ilan Club

The Ilan Club invites 7-12-year-olds and their parents to come celebrate Hanukkah together at 1:00 P.M. on December 10. There will be a rocking concert, we’ll learn how to make Hanukkah treats together and watch performances and Jewish music by talented performers!

It’s all happening on the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. For more information contact Sofija at +370 672 57540 or Žana at+370 678 81514.

Hanukkah Greetings

The Abi Men Zet Zich Club greets all our clients and friends on the upcoming holiday of Hanukkah!

At 1:00 P.M. on December 6 students and teachers from the Saulėtekis will perform in a concert called “Let’s Light the Hanukkah Light” on the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius.

At 3:00 P.M. on December 12 you’re invited to the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle at the same location.

For more information contact  Žana Skudovičienė,, +370 678 81514

Magical Hanukkah Journey

Lithuanian Jewish Community children are invited to go on a magical Hanukkah journey with their parents on December 16 and 17.

During the trip we will:

▪ visit the dolphinarium in Klaipėda
▪ search for treasure in the “upside-down house” (
▪ celebrate Hanukkah on the seaside at the Žuvėdra vacation home
▪ hold the havdalah ceremony to complete the Sabbath

Please note: space is limited. Registration is open until December 10.

Registration and information:

children aged 2-4: contact Dubi Mishpokha Club coordination Alina Azukaitis at or by telephone at +370 695 22959

children aged 5-7: contact Margarita Koževatova, Dubi Club,, +370 618 00577

for additional information, contact:

Žana Skudovičienė,, +370 678 81514

Launch of Victor David Brenner Catalog

You’re invited to the launch of a catalog of works by Victor David Brenner, the Litvak who designed, among other things, the United States one-cent coin.

The publication will be launched at the Jewish Culture Information Center at Mėsinių street no. 3a in Vilnius at 3:00 P.M., Monday, December 4, 2017. The launch of the catalog will be accompanied by an exhibit showcasing Brenner’s design work.

Christmas Fair at Old Town Hall Square

The Israeli embassy and the Bagel Shop Café presented Jewish foods for the Christmas Fair at the Old Town Hall in Vilnius Tuesday. The fair will take place on Saturday, December 2. The fair is held annually by foreign embassies in Vilnius with all sorts of handicrafts, Christmas decorations and food on offer. Revenues generated go to welfare programs in Lithuania. More than 30 embassies and 5 international schools will man booths at the fair. A lottery will be held with valuable prizes awarded and traditional song and dance will be performed. The fair will be open from 12 noon to 6:00 P.M.

The Litvaks: 900 Years of History

You are invited to a multimedia presentation called “Litvaks: 900 Years of History” by the students of the Saulėtekis school in Vilnius. The Saulėtekis school has presented a number of plays on Litvak culture and the Holocaust. The school has a strong Holocaust education component. In addition, student choirs often perform songs in Yiddish and Hebrew, most recently at the Holocaust commemoration at Ponar at the end of September where they performed the Vilnius ghetto anthem, Zog Nit Keynmol.

The presentation will take place at the Russian Drama Theater at Basanavičiaus street no. 13 in Vilnius at 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday, November 29.

Admission is free.

Exhibit of Miniatures by Valius Staknys

An exhibit of miniature drawings by Valius Staknys called Letters will open at the Lithuanian Jewish Community at 5:30 P.M. on November 30. The opening ceremony will include a retrospective of the artist’s life and work. He is best known as a theater director. The exhibit will run until December 18 on the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community.

Screening of “Aš turiu papasakoti”

The film “Aš turiu papasakoti” (“Ya Dolzhna Rasskazat”) will be screened at the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius at 6:00 P.M. on November 23. The movie is based on the book by Marija Rolnikaitė about surviving the Holocaust.

The film is open to the public and admission is free. Director Feliks Dektor and producer Eugenijus Bunka will be there.

Tens of Thousands of Jewish Documents Lost during Holocaust Discovered in Vilnius

YIVO announces the discovery of 170,000 Jewish documents thought to have been destroyed by the Nazis. Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for YIVO

NEW YORK (JTA)–A trove of 170,000 Jewish documents thought to have been destroyed by the Nazis during World War II has been found.

On Tuesday the New York-based YIVO Institute for Jewish Research announced the find which contains unpublished manuscripts by famous Yiddish writers as well as religious and community documents. Among the finds are letters written by Sholem Aleichem, a postcard by Marc Chagall and poems and manuscripts by Chaim Grade.

YIVO, founded in Vilnius in what is now Lithuania, hid the documents, but the organization moved its headquarters to New York during World War II. The documents were later preserved by Lithuanian librarian Antanas Ulpis who kept them in the basement of the church where he worked.

Most of the documents are currently in Lithuania but 10 items are being displayed through January at YIVO, which is working with Lithuania to archive and digitize the collection.

“These newly discovered documents will allow that memory of Eastern European Jews to live on, while enabling us to have a true accounting of the past that breaks through stereotypes and clichéd ways of thinking,” YIVO executive director Jonathan Brent said Tuesday in a statement.

United States Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, democrat from New York state, praised the discovery.

“Displaying this collection will teach our children what happened to the Jews of the Holocaust so that we are never witnesses to such darkness in the world again,” Schumer, who is Jewish, said in a statement.

Israeli consul general in New York Dani Dayan compared the documents to “priceless family heirlooms.”

“The most valuable treasures of the Jewish people are the traditions, experiences and culture that have shaped our history. So to us, the documents uncovered in this discovery are nothing less than priceless family heirlooms, concealed like precious gems from Nazi storm troopers and Soviet grave robbers,” he said.

Full story here.

Samuel Bak Museum Opens

Painter and Vilnius native Samuel Bak attended a press conference in Vilnius Wednesday to announce the opening of a Samuel Bak museum in Vilnius.

Bak, now based in the US, donated over 50 of his artworks for the museum. Born in 1933, the Jewish painter is a Holocaust survivor. He began drawing and painting in the Vilnius ghetto. After the war he lived in Israel and Western Europe. He and members of his family plan to spend just over a week in Vilnius on their current visit.

Bak is scheduled to be awarded honorary citizen of Vilnius at a ceremony to be held at the Vilnius Old Town Hall. The museum is to open November 17. 2017.

New Fall Issue of the Bagel Shop Newsletter

After skipping a beat this summer, the newest Bagel Shop newsletter has hit the stands. The fall issue includes a complete news round-up from spring to the present, the usual sections and articles about the history of the Bund, efforts to restore Jewish headstones removed from Soviet-era public works projects around Vilnius to their rightful locations and the history of the Jews of Skuodas. The Jewish Book Corner this issue features a book about the tractate Nazir from the Babylonian Talmud and the Telšiai Yeshiva.

Look for the newest issue at the Bagel Shop Café, available for free, or download the electronic version below:

Bagel Shop Newsletter No. 2, 2017

AJC Decries Hateful Demonstrators on Poland’s Independence Day

November 13, 2017, Warsaw — AJC is urging the Polish government to speak out clearly against rising hatred inspired by the country’s far right. The call to action comes after a large demonstration filled with neo-Nazi and white supremacist rhetoric that took place in Warsaw on Saturday, the country’s independence day.

“While the joyous 99th anniversary of Polish independence was appropriately celebrated in ceremonies led by president Duda, the day was seriously marred by hateful, far-right throngs that threaten the core values of Poland and its standing abroad,” said Agnieszka Markiewicz, director of AJC’s Warsaw-based Central Europe office. “The growth of xenophobic nationalism in Poland is becoming more dangerous, and we urge the government to condemn unequivocally the phenomenon and take appropriate action to counter it.”

An estimated 60,000 people participated in the “March of Independence,” an annual event organized by far-right groups in Poland that attracted many more people than last year, including some from other countries. Men and women wearing face-masks chanted “pure Poland, white Poland” and “clean blood, lucid mind” as well as “sieg heil” and “Ku Klux Klan.”

“The apparent tolerance shown for these purveyors of hate — and, let’s be clear, that’s exactly what they are — by some Polish government officials is particularly troubling,” said Markiewicz.

Interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak called the large demonstration “a beautiful sight,” adding that “we are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday.”

AJC, an organization long involved in Poland and steadfastly devoted to fostering strong links among the U.S., Israel, Poland, and world Jewry, calls on the Polish government to counter all forms of xenophobia and racially-motivated hatred through concerted action. “History has painfully taught us that silence or inaction in such matters can come with a high price,” said Markiewicz.

“As the late President Lech Kaczynski laudably said during the 2008 independence day celebration, ‘Patriotism does not mean nationalism,'” Markiewicz said. “It is an important message worth remembering and reinforcing. Radical nationalism and the spewing of hatred should not be confused with patriotism.”

Shapiro Silverberg
AJC Central Europe Office