Announcements

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.

Nechama Lifshitz Ensemble Commemorate Holocaust Victims in Vilnius

The Nechama Lifshitz Ensemble from Israel presents a creative evening to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust called “Heroism in the Face of Destruction. Testimonies,” directed by Regina Driker. The evening is dedicated to the heroes of the Vilnius ghetto. Passages from books, photographic documentation and songs of the ghetto in Yiddish (with Lithuanian translations). Performers: Gintaras Mikalauskas (actor, Lithuania), Gali Ben-Ari (vocalist, Israel), Roza Klein-Gofanovich (vocalist, Israel), Maksim Levinski (vocalist, Israel), Ada Pashaev (vocalist, Israel), Jana Yankovski (vocalist, Israel), Gregoriy Stolovich (multi-media), Regina Driker (pianist, director, playwright).

Time: 6:30 P.M., October 4, 2018
Location: Theater Hall, Vilnius University, Universiteto street no. 3, Vilnius.
Duration: ~one hour and thirty minutes

Sukkot

You and your family are invited to celebrate Sukkot together in the tent beginning at 6:30 P.M. on September 23 at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius. The prayer service will be followed by a holiday dinner at Bokšto street no. 19 in Vilnius at 7:30 P.M. Additionally, holiday lunch will be served in the sukka at 12:30 P.M. on both September 24 and 25.

WJC and Lithuanian Jewish Community Mark 75 Years Since Liquidation of Vilnius Ghetto

WJC and Lithuanian Jewish community mark 75 years since liquidation of Vilnius Ghetto: “We must continue to strengthen Jewish life in Lithuania”

WJC President Lauder praises Pope’s participation in commemoration: “Pope Francis is a true friend of the Jewish people”

NEW YORK–The World Jewish Congress and its affiliated community in Lithuania marked the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilnius Ghetto, alongside Pope Francis and other notable personalities.

“Seventy-five years ago, the Germans and local Lithuanian accessories nearly obliterated one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in Europe, a hub of cultural and intellectual Jewish life for thousands of years,” WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said. “But they did not succeed entirely. From the ashes of the Holocaust, the broken community is slowly rebuilding itself and working to ensure the future of Jewish life in Lithuania.”

Internet Petition for Immediate Removal of Noreika Plaque

A Lithuanian internet petition is circulating for the immediate removal of a plaque commemorating Jonas Noreika from the side of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences building in central Vilnius.

The petitioners on the webpage say:

“After new facts have surfaced regarding Jonas Noreika’s, aka General Vėtra’s role in establishing the Šiauliai ghetto, organizing the ‘isolation’ of Jewish Lithuanian citizens, the appropriation of their property, their imprisonment and other collaboration with Holocaust perpetrators during World War II, we call for the immediate removal of the plaque commemorating Jonas Noreika from the building of the Vrublevskiai Libary of the Lithuanian Academy of Science.”

Lauded earlier as a freedom fighter during the Nazi and Soviet occupations and even awarded posthumously and by presidential decree one of the highest distinctions of the Lithuanian state, Noreika’s role in the commission of Holocaust crimes has come under increasing scrutiny recently and has even attracted international media attention.

According to the website, the petition was initiated by B. Ušinskaitė on September 20, 2018, and is addressed to the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, the mayor of Vilnius, the Vilnius municipality, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.

Petition website here.

Events to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Destruction of the Vilnius Ghetto

September 21

10:00 A.M. Ceremony at the President’s Office to award rescuers of Jews the Order of the Life Saver’s Cross (by invitation only)

3:00 P.M. Ceremony for the erection of a stele marking the future site of a monument to Righteous Gentiles in the green space behind the Church of the Assumption and the Missionaries’ Monastery located at Subačiaus street no 28 in Vilnius and accessible from Maironio street (near the former Rosa Square)

September 22

6:00 P.M. Premiere of the play Ghetto, National Drama Theater, Laisvės prospect no. 71, Kaunas

September 23

10:00 A.M. Reading of the names at the Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street no. 39, Vilnius

12:00 noon Reading of passages from Yitzhak Rudashevski’s ghetto diary, Rūdininkų square, Rūdininkų street, Vilnius

2:30 P.M. Commemoration at the Ponar mass murder site, Ponar Memorial Complex, Agrastų street, Vilnius. Bus departs LJC at 1:00 P.M.

Exact time to be announced: Pope Francis commemorates Holocaust victims in the former ghetto in Vilnius Old Town

6:00 P.M. World premiere of “Under the Star of David” by the Giedrius Kuprevičius chamber symphony, Vaidila Theater, Jakšto street no. 9, Vilnius

Yom Kippur at the Choral Synagogue

Program of events for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius

Sunday, September 16

2:30-4:30 P.M. Preparations for Yom Kippur: lessons, kapparot (kappores) ritual

Tuesday, September 18

6:00 P.M. meal before fast
7:00 Kol Nidre
7:10 P.M. beginning of fast

Wednesday, September 19

9:30 A.M. Shacharit morning prayer
12:30 P.M. Izkor prayer
6:15 P.M. Mincha prayer
7:15 P.M. Niila prayer
8:19 P.M. end of fast, meal