Announcements

Celebrating Vidmantė Jasukaitytė’s 70th Birthday

Celebrating Vidmantė Jasukaitytė’s 70th Birthday

The Lithuanian Writers Union is holding a birthday party for the late writer Vidmantė Jasukaitytė from 5:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 8, 2018. The event will be held at the Writers Club located at K. Sirvydo street no. 6 in Vilnius and is open and free to the public. The program includes a reading of Jasukaitytė’s “The Sixth Commandmant: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Subačiaus Street. The Ghetto” based on her experience living at the former HKP Nazi labor camp in Vilnius, set to music and performed by Arkadijus Gotesmanas on percussion and Dimitrijus Golovanovas on piano. Jasukaitytė’s daughter Kunigunda, an artist in her own right, and a number of notable Lithuanian writers and poets are to attend and speak.

Renaissance Photo Exhibit at Pakruojis Wooden Synagogue

Renaissance Photo Exhibit at Pakruojis Wooden Synagogue

by Vilijus Žagrakalys (pictured above)

Renaissance, an exhibition of photographs at the Pakruojis synagogue from November 10 to 30, 2018, with the opening at 5:00 P.M. on November 9.

Everything that’s old comes back around. The 19th century was the period when photography began and flourished. The application of various techniques for forming an image on a plate progressed from wet-plate collodion to silver compound gelatin which dominated until the advent of digital cameras. The silver process gave rise to a surge in photography studios which captured portraits of their time in single and group portraiture. All sorts of visual photo albums were made. Silver gelatin emulsion was relatively easy to get and made this possible.

At around the same time the platinum method was discovered, dated at 1873 in the history of photography. William Willis patented the method in 1881. He received official awards for this in Great Britain in 1885. The method was popular until World War I, when platinum acquired greater value, and the technique gradually dropped out of use.

Around 1970 the technique was revived in the USA. It is now known as the king of the printing process.

When I began to get interested in photography techniques, I attempted to print several photographs. After much experimentation I seized upon the platinum/palladium method. The fragments of photographs in this exhibition were printed using this method.

Searching for Friend from Gulag

Emilija Dadurkevičienė (Sudvajūtė), born in Sudvajai village in the Alytus district in 1930, is searching for Dora Gershanovitch Kustanovitch, with whom she was imprisoned at a gulag during the Stalin era. In 1961 both women were moved to a gulag in Mordovia.

Fellow inmate Ira Verblovskaya recalled more about Dora in her memoirs:

“In the same construction brigade there was Dora Gershanovitch, from a repatriated family who had returned from America to ‘victorious socialism,’ working towards a new life. How could the family who had left the Ukraine in 1918 fleeing the pogroms live in a foreign country when such great events were taking place at home? People such as Dora’s father were needed as specialists in Moscow, where the family lived safely for several years. In 1937 her father and mother were arrested and shot.

“Dora was left on her own. She had relatives in the Baltic states so when the opportunity arose in 1940 she left for Estonia… She knew Estonian and Latvian well, and English of course as well.

“She made friends with the locals and didn’t differ in her habits from the Estonians or Lithuanians. She avoided strangers and might have appeared arrogant to others. In any event it was understood she had her own narrow circle of relatives and wasn’t prepared to expand that circle. It was only because of unexpected misfortune which overtook her and for which she gained sympathy not just from her friends that she became more open. Dora worked in the construction brigade with other strong and resilient women.

“Once she was cutting a piece of wire with an axe to make a nail and she was injured when a piece of the wire went into her eye. The eye couldn’t be saved and Dora was disabled. She was depressed to be in this state. After the war she went to Tartu where she taught English, and the first chance she got she went to America, although she was old, ill and alone. What later became of her is not known.”

If anyone knows Dora or knows of her, please write communications@lzb.lt

Exhibit: Reflections in a Broken Mirror

Exhibit: Reflections in a Broken Mirror

You are invited to attend the opening of the exhibit Reflections in a Broken Mirror detailing Litvak life in the period between the two world wars, in the atrium on the fifth floor at the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library at 3:00 P.M. on November 12. Judaica Research Center director Dr. Lara Lempert will present the exhibit. After presenting the exhibit she will also talk about the work of this center and new discoveries in Jewish heritage.

Vilnius Regional Jewish Community

Vigil for Pittsburgh Victims at the Choral Synagogue Tonight

B”H

Saturday morning during Sabbath services an extremist opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, shouting “All Jews must die” and killing eleven worshipers. At least another six people were wounded, including police officers who entered the synagogue to stop the shooting.

The Choral Synagogue in Vilnius will hold a vigil to express the deep loss we feel and to express solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community today, October 29, at 6:00 P.M.

Everyone is invited to come a light a candle in memory of the victims.

Vilnius Jewish Religious Community
Lithuanian Jewish Community
Lithuanian Jewish Religious Association

Litvaks in the Creation of Modern Lithuania and Israel

The Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library is to host a conference called “Together towards the Modern State: Litvaks in the History of Lithuanian and Israeli Statehood” on November 13 to mark the 100th anniversary of Lithuanian and 70th anniversary of Israeli statehood.

Speakers are to include Lithuanian and Israeli academics who will present the contribution Lithuanian Jews made in the creation of the Lithuanian state in 1918 and the contribution Litvaks also made to foundation of the state of Israel. Lithuanian students will also present their research on the life of local Jewish communities.

Please register before November 12 by sending an email to gustas.siauciulis@praktika.urm.lt

The conference will begin at 10:00 A.M. on November 13 at the national library.

The library’s Judaica Research Center will also present an exhibit during the conference called “Reflections in a Broken Mirror” presenting the life of the Lithuanian and Vilnius Jewish communities in the period between the two world wars.

Information available in Lithuanian here.

Book Launch: And the Goat Does Bring Happiness

You are cordially invited to attend the launch of Ilja Bereznickas’s book Ir ožka neša laimę [And the Goat Does Bring Happiness] on Monday, October 29 at 6:00 P.M. at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. The author will be there along with illustrator and publisher Leonardas Armonas, and there will be a screening of Ilja Bereznickas’s animated film Ne ožkoje laimė [Happiness Is Not Found in a Goat], perfectly suited for adults and children alike (film and book in Lithuanian).

Global Sabbath

The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community invites you to come celebrate the Sabbath during the global Shabbat project on Friday, October 26. Millions of Jews around the world are participating. We’ll be meeting at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius Friday evening, with prayer services scheduled to begin at 5:30 P.M. Food will be served after. Wherever you find yourself, you can keep Sabbath in solidarity with millions of others.

It all started in South Africa in 2013, when Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein called on the community to keep the Shabbat of October 14 together–to astonishing effect. In the days and weeks that followed, communities across the Jewish world lit up with the excitement of the prospect of bringing the Shabbat Project to their city.

Remembering Victims of the Great Aktion in Kaunas

The Kaunas Jewish Community will remember the victims of the Great Aktion in the Kaunas ghetto with a candle-lighting ceremony and honor Holocaust victims with a prayer at the Ninth Fort in Kaunas at 12 noon on October 28. The largest mass murder of Jews in the Kaunas ghetto on any day took place on October 28 into October 29, 1941, when about 10,000 people were killed. Over 4,200 children were murdered during the Great Aktion.

Meeting/Discussion “Prospects for Jewish Heritage in 2020”

You are invited to attend and speak at a meeting and discussion called “Prospects for Jewish Heritage in 2020: Major Tasks and Goals during the Year of the Vilna Gaon and Lithuanian Jewish History” at 5:30 P.M. on October 24 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius.

Members of the LJC’s heritage protection group will attend, including Lyudmila Sholokhova from YIVO, Assumpcio Hosta from the AEPJ in Spain and Sergey Kravtsov from Hebrew University.

To register, contact renginiai@lzb.lt

Come Learn to Play Chess

Playing chess improves memory, thinking ahead, concentration and creativity. Chess teaches you to make good decisions and helps you find new friends!

These basic classes will be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Lithuanian Jewish Community. The first demonstration class will be on Monday, September 22, at 6:00 P.M. The teachers will be FIDE master Boris Rositsan and Virginijus Dambrauskas. To register, just send an email to renginiai@lzb.lt

Juvenishki Memorial, an Exhibit of Works by Simon Karczmar

The Dieveniškės School of Business and Technologies is inviting the public to attend a special event for the region and the nation, the opening of an exhibit of works by Simon Karczmar called “Juvenishki Memorial” at the school located at Geranionų street no. 42 in Dieveniškės, Lithuania, from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. on October 23, 2018.

Simon Karczmar visited his grandfather in Dieveniškės, aka Juvenishki and aka Divenishok ca. 1908 where he discovered the life of the shtetl for the first time. He went on to pursue a career in art which he paid for by trading furs and lived in Warsaw and Paris. He joined the French resistance during World War II, found his surviving wife who had been sent to Auschwitz and they moved to Israel together, moving eventually to Montreal and then back to Israel. While in Canada and then later in Safed, Israel, Karczmar produced a series of works connected with his grandfather’s shtetl.

The exhibit will travel on from Dieveniškės to the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in Vilnius later.

For more information, see the school’s facebook page here.

Call for Help

Dear readers,

A family with 3 children, clients of the LJC Social Department, recently had their washing machine break down, which they need very much, especially since one of the children is only three-years-old.

If you are able to donate a used or new washing machine, please contact family support coordinator Rashele at 8 652 13 146 or by email at rasheles@sc.lzb.lt

We thank you for your consideration.

LJC Invites Public to Express Solidarity with Holocaust Victims

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has learned of a protest organized by the Vilnius Forum to stop the alleged tarnishing of Jonas Noreika’s name. They invited protesters to assemble at the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry just before noon on October 16.

The LJC reminds readers there is a plaque commemorating Jonas Noreika, aka General Vėtra, the organizer of the Šiauliai ghetto and the person in charge of isolating Jews there, right in central Vilnius erected apparently illegally in 1997, while only this year was a site announced for a future statue to Righteous Gentiles. We believe this lack of moral priorities is not in keeping with the spirit of a free, democratic and lawful state.

It is a great shame that 28 years after the restoration of Lithuanian independence, some still refuse to accept and admit the historical facts and to seek reconciliation.

The LJC appreciates the Lithuanian foreign minister’s position regarding the removal of the plaque commemorating Noreika and we encourage international Jewish organizations to express their opinion as well.

We also invite all sensible Lithuanian citizens to go to the Foreign Ministry and take part in an alternative meeting by the LJC, to become a voice for the 200,000 murdered Lithuanian Jews, and to again read out the names of the Lithuanian Jewish citizens imprisoned and murdered in the Šiauliai ghetto. Let’s not allow the lionization of people who contributed to the destruction of the Jews and the various excuses to overshadow the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and of those who saved Lithuania’s honor, the rescuers of Jews.

Those unable to come are invited to sign a petition for the immediate removal of the illegal plaque commemorating Jonas Noreika from the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.

Free Concert to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of Kaunas Jewish Community

The Kaunas State Philharmonic invites you to a unique concert dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the Kaunas Jewish Community, “…from Mendelssohn to Latėnas…,” at 6:00 PM on October 22 at the Kaunas State Philharmonic.

Performances by the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra (directed by Mindaugas Bačkus), Gabrielė Ašmontaitė (on harp), soloists Vilhelmas Čepinskis (violin), Stein Skjervold (baritone) and Mindaugas Bačkus (cello).

The concert is free.

Exhibit of Michailis Duškesas’s Document Collection

The third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community is now hosting an exhibit of documents to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the final destruction of the Vilnius ghetto. All of the documents relate to Vilnius and the people of the city, including Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, Dr. Tsemakh Shabad, banker Israel Bunimovich, the businessman Isak Shuman and others. The documents are from around the world with the majority from Germany, the USA and Israel.

One interesting document appears in the first display case at the new exhibit. It carries the inscription in Russia “Proyekt ustava dukhovnogo obschestva Vilniuskoy sinagogi” and the date 1888. It was acquired in Israel and comes from the collection of Leizer Ran, a well-known collector of Judaica.

There are many photographs from various angles of the Great Synagogue and the Choral Synagogue.

Document collector Michailis Duškesas says he began collecting pre-Holocaust Lithuanian Jewish documents about 15 years ago, and began collecting stamps since about 1980. He has an extensive stamp collection from around the world featuring the game of ping pong. He says he’s constantly enlarging his Judaica collection and now has a great number of documents concerning Lithuanian cities and towns where Jews lived. His documents have been exhibited before at the Lithuanian parliament, the National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum and the Lithuanian Historical Presidential Palace in Kaunas. He says they have also been used in documentary films about Jewish life in Lithuania before the Holocaust.

An Evening to Remember Saulius Sondeckis and Simonas Alperavičius Z”L

The Destinies series of events invites you to come mark the 90th birthdays of the late Simonas Alperavičius and the maestro Saulius Sondeckis.

Program:

Discussions and recollections
Piano trip Musica Camerata Baltica
Screening of film “Aš kažkaip laimingas” (“I’m Happy Somehow,” 2014) by Berznitski and Gintarė Zakarauskaitė

Special television program “Svyatoslaw Belza Interviews Saulius Sondeckis”

6:00 P.M., October 18, Jascha Heifetz Hall, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius

Initiated and moderated by Maša Grodnikienė

We will visit the graves of Saulius Sondeckis and Simonas Alperavičius, Z”L, in the morning on October 11.

Come Learn Hebrew and English

Everyone is invited to come learn some Hebrew or improve the Hebrew skills they already have. On Sundays the long-awaited lessons for children will be held as well. To register contact teacher Ruth Reches by email at ruthreches@gmail.com

Sunday

9:30-11:00 A.M. Hebrew for adults, level 2 (continued, conference hall at the LJC)
1:00-2:30 P.M. Hebrew for adult beginners (conference hall)
2:45-4:15 P.M. Hebrew for adults, level 1 (continued, conference hall)

Sunday school for kids

10:00-11:00 A.M. English lessons by English teacher Viačeslav Mlynkovskij (Ilan Club)
11:15-12:00 noon Hebrew (conference hall)
12:00-12:45 P.M. Traditions (conference hall)

Disinformation Campaign against LJC Continues Even after Lithuanian Supreme Court Ruling

Exhausting legal arguments for over a year now regarding standards for representation within the Lithuanian Jewish Community have now ended, but the destructive efforts continue by the Vilnius, Klaipėda, Ukmergė and Šiauliai Regional Jewish Communities to prove that equality before the law and the rule of law are not the principles which should guide the LJC, which includes 27 organizations as members.

Disputes arose at the LJC conference held back in May of 2017 over the representation of members, disputes which, despite the LJC’s efforts to find consensus, grew into open conflict. The newly-elected leadership of the Vilnius Jewish Community wanted proportional representation at the conference, so that every associated member would have a number of votes proportional to their number of physical members, thus giving their organization a monopoly on decision-making at the LJC conference.

This sort of representation is out of line with the Lithuanian law on associations, whose article 8, part 4 says each association member has one vote at a general meeting of the association; this insures the equal rights of members of the association and their equal participation in decision-making. This is the law, the rule providing for equal voting rights among members, which the Board of Directors of the LJC followed before convening the LJC reporting and election conference.

On November 22, 2017, the Vilnius district court found LJC statute point 7.1 on proportional representation of regional communities at LJC conferences null and void for failing to adhere to Lithuanian law. LJC associate members the Vilnius Jewish Community, Klaipėda Jewish Community, Ukmergė Jewish Community and Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community sought to appeal this decision and renew hearings, but on June 12, 2018, this appeal was rejected by court decree.

The Vilnius Jewish Community, Klaipėda Jewish Community, Ukmergė Jewish Community and Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community have entered a cassation case with the Lithuanian Supreme Court to review the finding by the Vilnius district court on June 12, 2018. The Lithuanian Supreme Court, the only venue which hears cassation complaints, ruling on the application of law rather than the facts of the case, issued a finding on September 19, 2018, declining to accept the cassation complaint for a hearing, and thus again confirming the necessity of applying the rule for equality among members of an association. This finding by the court is final and cannot be appealed.

The LJC encourages members, the public and interested parties to ignore information of a mendacious nature appearing in the media and social media about the allegedly illegitimately elected leadership of the LJC and we are making every effort to insure maximum transparency in our actions. At the same time, we regret the disagreements which have taken root, which divide the community and which are dissonant with the fundamental values of our people. Despite ongoing disagreements, the LJC is open to a further search for compromise with members questioning the legitimacy of the leadership of the association.